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Logistical Support 
— of the Armies - 

Volume I 
May 1941 -September 1944 



The European Theater of Operations 


In Two Volumes 
Volume I: May 1941 -September 1944 


Roland G. Ruppenthal 


Library of Congress Catalog Number: 53-60080 

First Printed 1953— CMH Pub 7-2-1 

For sale by the U.S. Government Printing Office 
Superintendent of Documents, Mail Stop: SSOP, Washington, D.C. 20402 

. . . to Those Who Served 


A tank without gasoline or a vital part might better be a pillbox. A rifle- 
man without ammunition must use his bayonet or club his rifle. A modern 
army without food will not long survive. This book tells, among other things, 
how in the European Theater of Operations the tank got its gas (when it 
did), how the ammunition went forward, and how the food reached the 

The necessity of anticipating events so that the needs of men in current- 
day battle can be promptly and continuously met is evident even to a casual 
reader. The question whether the modern soldier demands too much on the 
battlefield is one for all to ponder. 

Man tends to regard the problems with which he is faced as unique. To 
guide those faced with the logistic problems of the future, a number of supply 
principles have been laid down in regulations. This record of World War II 
experience tells how the principles were actually applied. Those who take 
the time and trouble to study it will find their efforts well rewarded. 

Maj.Gen.,U. S. A. 
Chief of Military History 

Washington, D C. 
15 June 1952 

Introductory Note 

In all the extensive literature of military history there are but few 
volumes devoted to the study of logistics. Although the rationalization of 
army supply is fairly old in the history of warfare the written record normally 
has been confined to the exposition, in field service regulations and manuals, 
of how supply, evacuation, and troop movement should be organized, 
rather than the narrative account of what actually happened in the course of 
wars and campaigns. The term "logistics" is itself of recent coinage. During 
World War I, it was confined chiefly to French lexicons, and it remained for 
World War II and for the American armed forces to give the term meaning 
and wide usage. Even so the definition of "logistics" is subject to wide varia- 
tions. As used in the present volume the term covers the supply of armies in 
the field and the movement of troops to the combat zone. Little attention is 
given the evacuation of the wounded since other Army historians will tell 
this story. 

When plans were made for writing a series of volumes dealing with U.S. 
Army operations in the European theater during World War II, the impor- 
tance of the logistical support given the armies in the field literally forced 
this subject upon those planning the series. It was decided that the story of 
logistics could not be treated as an appendage within the various volumes 
dealing with combat operations but would have to be told in the form of a 
sustained and independent narrative moving from ports and beaches for- 
ward to the combat zone. Months of research led to the conclusion that the 
complexity and scope of logistical history demanded more than a single 
volume. This volume is the first of two entitled Logistical Support of the Armies, 
It is intended that the history herein recounted stand by itself as the com- 
plete story of supply operations in Europe. But the thoughtful reader will find 
his understanding and appreciation of the role of logistics enhanced by 
referring also to those volumes in the European series which deal with the 
high command and combat operations. 

The author of Logistical Support of the Armies, Dr. Roland G. Ruppenthal, 
is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and holds the Ph. D. degree 
from that institution. During the war he served with the VII Corps and the 
Third Army as historical officer in four campaigns. Subsequently he was 
appointed Assistant Theater Historian for the European Theater of Opera- 
tions and charged with the direction of historical coverage for supply and 
administration within the theater. Dr. Ruppenthal is the author of a combat 
history, Utah Beach to Cherbourg, in the AMERICAN FORCES IN ACTION 
series, and is a lieutenant colonel in the United States Army Reserve. 

Chief, European Section 

Washington, D. C. 
29 May 1952 



World War II provided a convincing demonstration of the decisive role 
which materiel supremacy can have in modern warfare. But while the im- 
portance of logistics is repeatedly asserted, little has been written to indicate 
the complexity of the administrative machinery needed to bring the required 
logistic support to bear at the proper place and time, or to show the difficulty 
of anticipating the requirements of distant battles. This work recounts how 
U.S. forces were built up in the United Kingdom for the great invasion of 
1944, and how they were supplied during operations on the European Con- 
tinent. The present volume begins with the arrival of the first small group 
of U.S. Army "Special Observers" in the United Kingdom in the spring of 
1941 and carries the story of logistic support on the Continent to the end of 
the pursuit in northern France in mid-September 1944. A second volume 
will carry the story forward to the end of hostilities in Europe in May 1945. 

The aim throughout has been to relate the problems of logistic support 
to tactical plans and operations. While the story of procurement, movement, 
and distribution of supplies and manpower is told largely from the point of 
view of the theater or SOS-Communications Zone, the agency responsible 
for the support of U.S. forces, the focus throughout is on the influence which 
logistic support or lack of it had on the planning and conduct of combat 
operations by the field armies. The substantial apportionment of space to the 
discussion of theater command and organization is explained by the direct 
bearing which that problem had on the administrative structure of the 
European theater and consequently on the logistic support of U.S. forces. 

Except for the period of the U.K. build-up, little attention is given the 
logistic support of the Army Air Forces, since the story of that support is told 
elsewhere. Limitations of space have made it necessary to exclude from treat- 
ment in this volume certain activities normally falling within the definition 
of logistics, such as evacuation, hospitalization, and salvage. The importance 
of transportation, of port and railway construction, and of shortages of major 
items such as ammunition and combat vehicles, to the story of logistic diffi- 
culties has resulted in an unavoidable encroachment on the histories of the 
technical services. The technical aspects of their operations are left to the 
histories of those services. 

While an attempt has been made to maintain a chronological organiza- 
tion, constantly relating supply to tactical developments, the nature of the 
subject has made it necessary to combine the chronological with the topical 
treatment. Some trespassing on strict chronology has therefore resulted, as, 
for example, in recounting the story of Cherbourg's reconstruction and per- 


formance. That story is postponed to the second volume where the port 
problem as a whole is treated at length. Command and organizational devel- 
opments of the pursuit period, including the circumstances surrounding the 
move of the Communications Zone headquarters to Paris, and an analysis of 
the command decisions of early September 1944 in the light of the logistic 
situation at that time are likewise postponed to Volume II. 

It is a pleasure to acknowledge both the direct assistance and encourage- 
ment provided by many persons in the preparation of this volume. It was 
mainly through Col. S. L. A. Marshall, theater historian in 1945, that the 
author was first initiated into the study of logistics and transferred from the 
field to theater headquarters at the end of hostilities in Europe to organize 
the research and writing of preliminary monographs on the administrative 
and logistical history of the theater. Since then Colonel Marshall has con- 
tinued to provide friendly and expert counsel and to give generously of his 
time in constructive criticism of the manuscript. 

The author's labors have been substantially lightened by the use of 
several preliminary studies prepared by members of the Historical Section, 
ETO, at the conclusion of the war in Europe, Three of them had particularly 
valuable application to this volume and merit special mention: George H. 
Elliott's history of the ETOUSA predecessor commands, SPOBS and 
USAFBI, covering the activities of the U.S. Army in the United Kingdom 
in the year before the formal activation of the theater; Clifford L.Jones's 
two- volume manuscript on the training of U.S. forces in the logistics of am- 
phibious operations and on the activities of the engineer special brigades at 
the beaches; and Robert W. Coakley's two-volume study of theater com- 
mand and organization. These three outstanding products of research 
carried out under difficult circumstances were an invaluable and irreplace- 
able source in the preparation of this volume. 

It is a pleasure to acknowledge the research assistance of Dr. Mae Link, 
who aided in the preparation of three chapters on the U.K. build-up, and of 
Mr. Royce L. Thompson, whose effective sleuthing for elusive records both 
at St. Louis and Washington and researching on a variety of questions saved 
the author much time-consuming labor. 

Special thanks are due those individuals who co-operated so generously 
and cordially in the final production of the volume: Mr. Joseph R. Friedman, 
Chief of the Editorial Branch, made an immeasurable contribution, saving 
the author many writing faults through his unfailing tact and expert editorial 
judgment. Mr. Wsevolod Aglaimoff, Chief of the Cartographic Branch, and 
his assistants have solved a knotty mapping problem with their customary 
imagination and skill. Capt. Kenneth E. Hunter, Chief of the Photographic 
Branch, selected and edited the photographs which have added substantially 
to the appearance and value of the volume. Miss Gay Morenus ably carried 
out the laborious task of copy editing, and the index is the product of many hours 
of work by Mrs. Pauline Dodd. 

The author must acknowledge, in addition, the consistently cheerful 
assistance given by Mr. Israel Wice and his staff of the General Reference 


Branch of the Office, Chief of Military History; by the records personnel of 
the Departmental Records Branch in Washington and of the Records 
Administration Center in St. Louis, both of the Office of the Adjutant 
General; and by the historians of the technical services. Footnotes attest in 
part to the contributions of key staff officers and commanders who generously 
provided personal knowledge of the events of the period. Generals John C. H. 
Lee, Raymond G. Moses, Robert W. Crawford, and Ewart G. Plank read 
the entire manuscript in draft form. 

This volume was prepared under the general direction of Dr. Hugh M. 
Cole, Chief of the ETO Section, Office of the Chief of Military History, with 
whom the author was privileged to serve in the European theater, and who 
has been his constant mentor and most unfailing source of encouragement 
in a new field of study. 


Washington, D. C. 
4June 1952 








1941-JUNE 1942 13 

(/) The United States "Observes" the War in Europe 13 

(2) The Occupation of Iceland 17 

(3) American Troops Go to Northern Ireland . 19 

(4) Establishing an Air Force in the United Kingdom ....... ^ 26 

(5) The Formation of the Services of Supply and the Activation of ETO USA 31 

(6) The Heritage of SPOBS and USAFBI 44 


(/) BOLERO Is Born . 52 

(2) BOLERO Planning in the United Kingdom, May-July 1942: the 

First Key Plans 59 

(3) The SOS Organizes, June -July 1942 76 

(4) TORCH Intervenes •■ •. • ■ 87 

(5) BOLERO'S Status at the End of 1942 99 


(/) BOLERO in Limbo, January-April 1943 114 

(2) The Troop Build-up Is Resumed, May-December 1943 1 20 

(3) The Flow of Cargo in 1943 132 

(4) Troop and Cargo Reception 146 

(5) Command and Organizational Changes in 1943 159 




(/) Early Planning for Cross-Channel Operations 175 

(2) Logistic Considerations in the Evolution of the OVERLORD Plan . 178 


Chapter Page 


JUNE 1944 190 

(7) Formation of the Major Commands 190 

(2) Consolidation of ETOUSA and SOS 195 

(3) Assignment of Command and Planning Responsibilities 203 

(4) Forward Echelon, Communications %pne {FECOMQ ...... 207 

(5) Advance Section, Communications £one (ADSEC) 21 1 

(6) Continental Base Sections 21 6 

(7) Final Command Arrangements 21 9 


(7) The Flow of Troops and Cargo, January-May 1944 231 

(2) Construction and Local Procurement, 1943-May 1944 240 

(J) The SOS on the Eve of OVERLORD 258 


(7) The Artificial Port 269 

(2) Beach Organization 282 

(J) Port Reconstruction 285 

(4) Troop Build-up and Replacements 297 

(5) The Supply Plan 306 

(6) The Depot Structure 312 

(7) Transportation 314 

(8) The Supply of POL 319 



(7) Earlier Amphibious Experience 328 

(2) The Training Schools and First Exercises 334 

(3) The Assault Training Center and Engineer Special Brigades .... 339 

(4) Major Exercises 345 

(5) Final Rehearsals 350 

MAY-JULY 1944 


(7) The Mounting Problem and Plan 357 

(2) The Mounting Begins 363 



(7) Tactical Developments in June 374 

(2) OMAHA Beach on D Day 377 

(J) UTAH Beach on D Day 384 


Chapter Page 

(4) Development of the OMAHA Area 389 

(5) Development of the UTAH Area 397 

(6) The Beach Ports 402 

(7) The Great Storm of 19-22 June 406 

(8) The Build-up to 30 June 415 

(9) Cross-Channel Movement . " 422 


(7) Tactical Developments, 1-24 July . . . . 427^ 

(2) The Normandy Supply Base 430 

(3) The Status of Supply . 439 

(4) Troop Build-up 449 

(5) Replacements 458 

(6) The Ports 463 



(7) Tactical Developments 475 

(2) The Logistic Implications of Changing Plans 48 1 


(7) The Character of Supply Operations in the Pursuit 489 

(2) Gasoline— "the Red Blood of War" 499 

(3) Class 7, 77, and IV Supply 516 

(4) Ammunition 525 


(7) The Railways 544 

(2) Motor Transport 553 

(3) Supply by Air 572 




INDEX 597 



No. Page 

1 . Troop Build-up in the United Kingdom, January 1942-February 1 943 . 100 

2. Cargo Flow to the United Kingdom, January 1942-May 1943 .... 103 

3. Troop Build-up in the United Kingdom in 1943 129 

4. Cargo Flow to the United Kingdom in 1943 135 

5. Troop Build-up in the United Kingdom, August 1943-May 1944 . . 232 

6. Cargo Flow to the United Kingdom, November 1943-July 1944 . . 237 

7. Supply Build-up Over the Beaches, 6-30 June 1944 416 

8. Vehicle Build-up Over the Beaches, 6-30 June 1944 418 

9. Troop Build-up Over the Beaches, 6-30 June 1944 420 

10. Gasoline Supply of First and Third Armies, 30 July-16 September 1944 503 

1 1 . Cargo Transported by Air, 20 August-1 6 September 1 944 581 


1. Early Command and Staff Organization of ETOUSA 45 

2. The BOLERO Administrative Organization in the United Kingdom . 63 

3. Organization of the Services of Supply, ETOUSA, 19 August 1942 . . 79 

4. ETOUSA and SOS Command and Organizational Structure, August 

1943 165 

5. ETOUSA's Organization After the Consolidation of 17 January 1944 . 199 

6. Planned Command Arrangements for OVERLORD 225 


1. European Theater of Operations, 16 June 1942 41 

2. Regional Organization of SOS in the United Kingdom 85 

3. ETO Boundary Changes 112 

4. Ports Considered in Invasion Planning 180 

5. The Final OVERLORD Plan Inside back cover 

6. U.S. General Depots and Major Training Sites, May 1944 249 

7. Plan for MULBERRY A at OMAHA Beach 279 

8. The CHASTITY Plan 295 

9. OVERLORD Rail and Pipeline Plans 316 

10. The Mounting Plan for Southern Base Section Inside back cover 

11. Tactical Progress, 6-30 June 1944 377 

12. OMAHA Beach and Beach Maintenance Area 378 

13. UTAH Beach and Beach Maintenance Area 385 

14. Tactical Progress, U.S. Forces, 1-24 July 1944 428 

15. Tactical Progress, 25 July-1 2 September 1944 476 

16. POL Pipelines in Mid-September 1944 511 

17. Railways in Use, Mid-September 1944 548 

18. Routes of the Red Ball Express 562 




The Special Observer Group 15 

Headquarters, ETO 17 

John G. Winant, U.S. Ambassador to Britain . . . 24 

Nissen Hut Quarters 25 

General Lee 34 

Crates of Partially Assembled Jeeps . . . 67 

British "Goods Vans" . . 68 

English Railway Station Scene . . 69 

General Hawley 72 

Headquarters, SOS, Near Cheltenham 82 

General Littlejohn . . . 98 

General Moore 101 

Deck-Loaded General Grant Medium Tanks , 102 

Motor Convoy 143 

Tenders Alongside the Queen Elizabeth . 147 

U.S. -Built Locomotives , 151 

Roadside Storage 153 

General Depot at Ashchurch 155 

Jeep Assembly Line 157 

General Crawford 166 

General Lord 167 

General Moses . 206 

General Plank 212 

Stocking Supplies and Equipment . . \ . . . . . 228 

Invasion Equipment 229 

Typical Medical Installations 245 

Aerial View of a Station Hospital 247 

U.S. Airfield Construction in England 252 

General Stratton . 266 

Caissons 274 

Lobnitz Pierhead . 276 

Aerial View of Cherbourg 291 

Column of Dukws 333 

Waterproofed Tank Recovery Vehicle 362 

Loaded Landing Craft and Ships 372 

Discharging at the Beaches 395 

Partially Completed MULBERRY 403 

Completed Pier of the MULBERRY 405 

Beached and Wrecked Landing Craft 408 

Storm-Twisted Piers 409 


Beach Transfer Points 412 

Dried-Out LST 414 



Coaster Being Unloaded 465 

The First POL Tanker 501 

General Muller 506 

Brig. Gen. R. W. Wilson 507 

Welding a Section of the POL Line 512 

Rations Stacked at a Quartermaster Depot 517 

General Rowan 519 

General Rumbough 520 

Handling Supplies in the Field 526 

General Sayler 541 

U.S.-Built World War I Locomotives 545 

Gondola Rolling Out of an LST 546 

General Ross 554 

Directing Traffic Along the Red Ball Route 561 

Tractor-Trailer Combinations 569 


Principal Commanders and 
Staff Officers 

Associated With the Logistic Support of U.S. Forces in the 
European Theater * 

Adcock, Brig. Gen. (subsequently Maj. Gen.) Clarence L. — Born in Waltham, 
Mass., 1895. Graduated from the U.S. Military Academy and appointed 2d 
lieutenant in the Corps of Engineers in 1918. Held the usual engineer assign- 
ments in the first years, including duty in Hawaii, as an assistant PMS&T ** 
at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with the engineer office of the First 
Corps Area, and later as Executive Officer of the Office of the Chief of 
Engineers in Washington. Graduated from the Command and General Staff 
School in 1935; from the Army War College in 1939. Went to England as 
G-4 of the II Corps in 1942, participating in the North African invasion, and 
successively held the same position on the staff of the Fifth Army, AFHQ, 
and then 6th Army Group. After the war became G-5 of U.S. Forces in 
Europe and subequently held various posts in the Military Government of 
Germany. Retired in 1947, but was recalled for temporary duty with the 
European Command in 1948, returning to retired status in 1949. 

Chaney, Maj. Gen. James E. — Born in Chaney, Md., 1885. Entered U.S. Military 
Academy after attending Baltimore City College for three years, graduating 
and accepting appointment as 2d lieutenant of Infantry in 1908. After vari- 
ous infantry assignments, including a tour in the Philippines, was detailed to 
the Air Service in 1917, serving with the AEF in France and Germany. 
Graduated from Command and General Staff School in 1926 and from Army 
War College in 1931. Served between the wars as Assistant Military Attache 
for Aviation at Rome, technical adviser on aviation at Geneva Disarmament 
Conference in 1932, Assistant Chief of Staff of Air Corps in 1935, and head 
of Air Defense Command at Mitchel Field, N. Y. Went to England in 1940 
to observe the Battle of Britain, and the following year returned there as head 
of the Special Observer Group, forerunner of the later theater headquarters. 
Commanded U.S. forces in Britain in the first half of 1942, returning to the 
United States in June and becoming Commanding General, First Air Force. 

* The list is restricted to general officers and includes several who held prominent staff and 
command positions in supply in the 6th Army Group and SOLOC, and whose main role in the 
logistic support of U.S. forces falls in the period covered by the second volume. 

** Professor of Military Science and Tactics. 



Later held commands in the Pacific and served in the Office of the Secretary 
of War. Retired in July 1947. 

Collins, Brig. Gen. Leroy P. — Born in Troy, N. Y, 1383. Entered military service 
as enlisted man in 1904, serving with 15th Cavalry until 1907, when ap- 
pointed 2d lieutenant in Field Artillery. Graduated from Command and 
General Staff School in 1924, from Army War College in 1929, and from 
Naval War College in 1930. Served tours of duty in the Philippines, the 
Panama Canal Zone, and the Office of the Chief of Field Artillery in Wash- 
ington. Was PMS &T at Leland Stanford University, Assistant Commandant 
of the Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, member of War Plans Division of the 
General Staff, and commander of various field artillery brigades. Went to the 
European Theater in 1942 and commanded the Northern Ireland Base Sec- 
tion, the Western Base Section in England, and later the Loire Section on the 
Continent. Retired in 1945. 

Crawford, Maj. Gen. Robert W. — Born in Warsaw, N. Y., 1891. Graduated 
from U.S. Military Academy and commissioned in Corps of Engineers in 
1914. Graduated with degree in Electrical Engineering from Cornell Univer- 
sity in 1921, from Command and General Staff School in 1929, and from 
Army War College in 1936. Served with Corps of Engineers and Chemical 
Warfare Service in France in 1917-18. Held various engineer assignments in 
the United States and Hawaii, and served with the Public Works Adminis- 
tration and the Works Progress Administration in the 1930's. Between 1939 
and 1942 saw duty with the War Department General Staff and with the 
Armored Force at Fort Knox. In December 1942 became Commanding Gen- 
eral of the U.S. Army Services of Supply in the Middle East. Went to England 
in 1943 and served briefly as Chief of Operations, Chief of Staff, and Deputy 
Commanding General, SOS, and as theater G-4. Became G-4 of Supreme 
Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force, early in 1944, remaining in that 
position until the end of hostilities. In September 1945 was named Division 
Engineer of the Lower Mississippi Valley Engineer Division, with headquar- 
ters at Vicksburg, and in 1946 became President of the Mississippi River 
Commission. Retired in 1948. 

Gilland, Brig. Gen. Morris W. — -Born in Brooklyn, N. Y., 1898. Graduated 
from U.S. Military Academy and appointed 2d lieutenant in Corps of Engi- 
neers in 1918. Early assignments included duty at Engineer School at Camp 
Humphreys, and service as PMS&Tat the Virginia Military Institute. Almost 
all later assignments in field of engineering, including duty in Panama Canal 
Zone and in various engineer districts in United States. In 1942, after serving 
briefly as engineer of Southern Base Section in England, went to North Africa 
and there became engineer of Mediterranean Base Section, then Chief of 
Staff, Headquarters, SOS. After the southern France invasion, became Chief 
of Staff, Southern Line of Communications, and, upon that command's dis- 



solution in February 1945, G-4 of Headquarters, Communications Zone, 
ETO. In November 1945 became Chief of Staff of Second Service Command 
at Governor's Island, N. Y., and in 1946 was assigned to duty at Fort Belvoir. 
Retired in September 1948. 

Grower, Brig. Gen. Roy W. — Born in Richmond, N. Y., 1890. Graduated with 
engineering degree from University of Syracuse in 1913. Commissioned as 1st 
lieutenant in ORC in 1917 and as 1st lieutenant in Corps of Engineers, RA, 
in 1920. Served with the engineers in France in World War I and then in 
various assignments, including PMS&T at the University of Cincinnati, 
Assistant PMS&T at the Alabama Polytechnic Institute, duty in the Panama 
Canal Zone, with the Works Progress Administration, and in the Upper 
Missouri Valley Engineer District. Went to the European Theater in 1943, 
serving successively with the 351st Engineer General Service Regiment, as a 
Base Section Engineer, Deputy Base Section Commander, and Commanding 
General, Eastern Base Section, in England. After invasion of France, became 
Commanding General of Brittany Base Section and later commander of Bur- 
gundy District of the Continental Advance Section. Retired in 1946. * 

Hawley, Maj. Gen. Paul R. — Born in West College Corner, Ind., 1891. Grad- 
uated with B. A. degree from Indiana University in 1912, and with M. D. 
from University of Cincinnati in 1914. Commissioned 1st lieutenant in the 
medical Reserve in 1916 and appointed 1st lieutenant in the Medical Corps, 
RA, in 1917. Graduated from Army Medical School in 1921, Command and 
General Staff School in 1937, and Army War College in 1939. Served with 
AEF in France in 1918-19, in the Philippines in 1924-27, and as Chief 
Surgeon of U.S. Army troops in Nicaragua. Became Executive Officer of 
Army Medical Center in Washington, D. C, in 1931. Went to England as 
Chief Surgeon of the Special Observer Group in 1941, and remained as Chief 
Surgeon of the European Theater throughout the period of hostilities. In 
1945 became adviser to the Chief of the Veterans Administration, Gen. Omar 
N. Bradley, on medical affairs. Retired in June 1946, thereafter serving as 
Director of the American College of Surgeons. 

Hoge, Brig. Gen. (subsequently Lt. Gen.) William M. — Born in Boonville, Mo., 
1894. Graduated from U.S. Military Academy and appointed 2d lieutenant 
in Corps of Engineers in 1916. Received degree in Civil Engineering from 
Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1922, and graduated from Com- 
mand and General Staff School in 1928. Served with AEF in France in 1918 
and in a variety of peacetime assignments, including duty as instructor at 
Virginia Military Institute, at Engineer School at Fort Humphreys, and at 
Infantry School at Fort Benning. Organized the Corps of Engineers of the 
Philippine Army, becoming its first Chief of Engineers. Was District Engineer 
at Memphis and Omaha. In 1942 commanded engineer units in construction 
of the Alaskan Highway, then successively commanded 4th and 5th Engineer 



Special Brigades. In 1944 was selected to command Provisional Engineer 
Special Brigade Group, consisting of 5th and 6th ESB's which supported V 
Corps in the landings at Omaha Beach in Normandy. Subsequently became 
commander of 16th Major Port, which first operated the Brittany ports and 
then Le Havre. Later in 1944 took command of Combat Command B of 9th 
Armored Division, which captured the Rhine bridge at Remagen, and then 
was given 4th Armored Division, which he commanded in the final drive 
into central Germany. After the war commanded the Engineer School, U.S. 
troops in Trieste, and in 1951 the IX Corps in Korea. 

Jacobs, Brig. Gen. Fenton S. — Born in Gordonsville, Va., 1892. Enlisted in the 1st 
(Virginia) Cavalry, National Guard, in 1916, and was appointed 2d lieuten- 
ant of Cavalry in the Officers Reserve Corps in 1917. Accepted RA commis- 
sion later the same year. Served with AEF in France in 1917-18, and on 
occupation duty. Was Assistant PMS&T at the University of Arizona. After 
graduation from Command and General Staff School in 1936, instructed at 
the Cavalry School. In 1942 became Chief of Staff, 91st Division, and in the 
following year went to England and served as Deputy Commander and Chief 
of Staff of Western Base Section, then as Commanding General of Western 
Base. Commanded the Channel Base Section on the Continent. After the war 
in Europe served briefly as a base commander in the western Pacific, then as 
Commanding General of the Seattle Port of Embarkation. 

Larkin, Maj* Gen. (subsequently Lt. Gen.) Thomas B. — Born in Louisburg, Wis., 
1890. Graduated in 1910 from Gonzaga University, Washington, with B. A. 
degree, and from U.S. Military Academy with appointment as 2d lieutenant 
in Corps of Engineers in 1915. Served with 2d Engineers in Mexico in 1916, 
and with AEF in France in 1917-19. Between wars assignments included 
duty in Office, Chief of Engineers, Washington, D. C, in Panama Canal 
Zone, as Assistant Military Attache in Tokyo, as Assistant to District Engi- 
neer at Pittsburgh, and later as District Engineer at Vicksburg and at Fort 
Peck District in Montana. Graduated from Army Industrial College in 1927, 
Command and General Staff School in 1929, and Army War College in 1938. 
In 1942 went to England with General Lee, becoming the first Chief of Staff 
of the SOS, ETO. In November accompanied the Torch force to North 
Africa, becoming successively Commanding General of the Mediterranean 
Base Section, of the SOS, North African Theater of Operations, and then of 
the Communications Zone, North African Theater. In 1944 went to south- 
ern France to command the Southern Line of Communications, and with 
that command's dissolution in February 1945 became Deputy Commander 
for Operations of the Communications Zone, ETO, and finally also Chief of 
Staff. Returned to United States later that year to take command of Second 
Service Command. In 1946 became Quartermaster General, and in 1949 
Director of Logistics (subsequently redesignated G-4), Department of the 
Army General Staff. 



Lee, Lt. Gen. John C. H. — Born in Junction City, Kans., 1887. Graduated from 
U.S. Military Academy in 1909, from Army General Staff College at 
Langres, France, in 1918, from Army War College in 1932 and from Army 
Industrial College in 1933. For other biographical data see Chapter I, Sec- 
tion 5. After dissolution of the Communications Zone in 1945, became 
Commanding General of the successor command, Theater .Service Forces, 
European Theater. In January 1946 became Commanding General of the 
Mediterranean Theater and Deputy Supreme Allied Commander, Allied 
Forces, Mediterranean. Retired in December 1947. 

Littlejohn, Maj. Gen. Robert M. — Born in Jonesville, S. C, 1890. Graduated 
from U.S. Military Academy and appointed 2d lieutenant of Cavalry in 
1912. Graduated from Command and General Staff School in 1926 and from 
Army War College in 1930. First assigned to 8th Cavalry in the Philippines. 
Served with machine gun battalion in AEF in France, 1918. In 1919 in 
France began to see increasing duty with the Quartermaster Corps, serving 
with the Subsistence School, completing a second tour in the Philippines, and 
carrying out an assignment with the Office of the Quartermaster General in 
Washington. Went to England in 1942 and served as Chief Quartermaster of 
the European Theater for remainder of the war, also acting as Chief of Staff 
of the SOS for a brief period. Retired in 1946. 

Lord, Maj. Gen. Royal B. — Born in Worcester, Mass., 1899. Graduated from 
U.S. Military Academy and appointed 2d lieutenant in Corps of Engineers 
in 1923. Graduated from Engineer School in 1924 and from University of 
California with B. S. degree in Civil Engineering in 1927. Served in the 
Philippines and Hawaii, instructed at the Military Academy, and, like many 
Army engineer officers, saw duty with various agencies specially created by 
the government in the 1930's, including the Passamaquoddy Project in 
Maine, the Resettlement Administration, and the latter's successor, the Farm 
Security Administration. In 1941-42 served as Acting Director of the War 
Department Bureau of Public Relations and Assistant Director of the Board 
of Economic Warfare. Ordered to England in July 1942, serving first in the 
Office of the Chief Engineer. Subsequently became Deputy Chief of Staff, 
SOS, then Chief of Staff of the SOS and the Communications Zone and, at 
the same time, Deputy Chief of Staff, ETOUSA. In April 1945 became Com- 
manding General of the Assembly Area Command, which directed redeploy- 
ment of U.S. forces from the European Theater. Retired in 1946 and entered 
business in New York. 

Moore, Maj. Gen. Cecil R. — Born at Grottoes, Va., 1894. Graduated from 
Virginia Polytechnic Institute with B. S. degree in Electrical Engineering 
and was commissioned 2d lieutenant in Coast Artillery Corps, RA, in 1917. 
Graduated from the Engineer School at Fort Humphreys in 1924, from 
Command and General Staff School in 1933, and from Army War College in 



1938. Saw service in France, England, and Germany in 1918-22 and held 
various engineering assignments in the United States thereafter, Went to the 
Office of the Chief of Engineers in Washington in 1930 and later became 
District Engineer at Portland, Oreg. Appointed Chief Engineer of the 
European Theater in 1942, serving as such until 1946, when he retired. 

Moses, Brig. Gen. Raymond G.— Born in Buffalo, N. Y, 1891. Graduated from 
U.S. Military Academy and was appointed 2d lieutenant in Corps of Engi- 
neers in 1916. Served in Panama Canal Zone before going to France in 1918. 
After World War I, attended Massachusetts Institute of Technology, graduat- 
ing with a degree in Civil Engineering in 1921. Graduated from Command 
and General Staff School in 1931, and from Army Industrial College in 1933. 
Held normal engineering assignments, including duty in Mississippi and 
Ohio Valley engineer districts. Served with American Battle Monuments 
Commission in France and instructed at U.S. Military Academy. In 1941 
went to the Office of the Chief of Engineers in Washington, and then to the 
War Department General Staff as G-4. In 1943 went to the European 
Theater and became G-4 of 1st (later 12th) Army Group, heading the U.S. 
Administrative Staff attached to General Montgomery's headquarters to 
plan the logistic support of the Normandy invasion. Served after war as 
Division Engineer, New England Division. Retired in 1949. 

Muller, Brig Gen. (subsequently Maj. Gen.) Walter J. — Born at Fort D. A. 
Russel (now Fort Warren), Wyo., 1895. Graduated from U.S. Military 
Academy and appointed 2d lieutenant of Infantry in 1918. Postwar infantry 
duty in France and Germany, continuing in various infantry assignments 
after return to the United States in 1923. Assistant PMS&T at the University 
of Florida in 1931 ; graduate of the Command and General Staff School in 
1938. Served increasingly in the field of supply with assignment to Fort Knox 
as Assistant G-4 for Armored Force, then G-4 of I Armored Corps. Served as 
G-4 of Desert Training Center at Camp Young, Calif., and returned to I 
Armored Corps as G-4 for planning and execution of North African invasion. 
Became G-4 of Seventh Army in 1943 Sicilian invasion. Continued to serve 
General Patton as G-4 of Third Army throughout campaigns of 1944-45. 
After war served successively as Military Governor of Bavaria, as G-4 and 
Chief of Logistics Section, Army Field Forces. In 1951 became Deputy Chief 
of Staff for Logistics and Administration, and Senior Officer U.S. Element, 
Allied Land Forces Central Europe. 

Plank, Maj. Gen. Ewart G. — Born in Garden City, Nev., 1897. Graduated from 
U.S. Military Academy in 1920, from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 
1922, and Command and General Staff School in 1940. Major peacetime 
assignment with Engineer office at Fort Peck, Mont. Appointed commander 
of the Eastern Base Section in England in 1942, and served as Commanding 
General of the Advance Section throughout the period of operations on the 



Continent in 1944-45. After V-E Day took command of Philippine Base 
Section, and in 1946 became Commanding General of New York Port of 
Embarkation. Retired in 1949. 

Ratay, Brig. Gen. John P. — Born in Posen, Poland, 1893. Enlisted in the Regular 
Army in 1914, serving in Coast Artillery Corps, and commissioned a 2d lieu- 
tenant in Field Artillery in 1917. Saw duty as an artillery officer with 2d 
Division in France, 1918-21. From 1924 to 1928 served as language officer 
and Assistant Military Attache in Peking, China, and prepared textbooks on 
the study of Chinese. Graduated from Command and General Staff School 
in 1934. Collected historical material in Berlin for the Historical Section, 
Army War College, 1934-38, and in 1939-42 served as Military Attache in 
Bucharest, Romania. Accompanied the Western Task Force as Deputy G-2 
in the North African landings, November 1942, and thereafter became suc- 
cessively commander of Atlantic Base Section in Morocco, the 20th Port 
Training Command in North Africa, the Northern Base Section in Corsica, 
and Delta Base Section, Southern Line of Communications, in southern 
France. Retired in August 1946. 

Rigkard, Brig. Gen. (subsequently Maj. Gen.) Roy V.— Born in Osseo, Wis., 
1891. Appointed 2d lieutenant of Infantry in the ORC in 1917, and com- 
missioned a 1st lieutenant, RA, in 1920. After early duty in various provost 
assignments, served increasingly with infantry units, including duty in the 
Panama Canal Zone and the Philippines, at the Infantry School, and as 
Assistant PMS&T at the University of Iowa. Gradually shifted to the field of 
supply, beginning with his assignment to the G-4 Section of Ninth Corps 
Area at the Presidio of San Francisco in 1940. In 1943 participated in the 
Kiska operation in the Aleutians as a landing force commander. In the fall 
of the same year became G-4 of the Fourth Army, and in the following year 
G-4 of the Ninth Army, serving in the latter position until the end of hostil- 
ities. After a brief tour of duty in the United States he returned to Europe, 
serving successively as Assistant Inspector General, Provost Marshal, and 
Chief of Special Services of the European Command. Retired in 1951. 

Rogers, Brig. Gen. Pleas B. — Born in Alice, Tex., 1895. Entered military service 
as enlisted man with 2d Infantry, Texas National Guard, on border duty in 
1916-17, and was appointed 2d lieutenant in Infantry, Texas National 
Guard, in 1917. Served with AEF in France in 1918-19, and accepted RA 
commission as 1st lieutenant of Infantry in 1920. Graduated from Command 
and General Staff School in 1935, and from Army War College in 1937. 
Infantry duty included service with Philippine Scouts. Commanded London 
Base Command (changed to Central Base Section) from 1942 to 1944, when 
named to a like assignment as Commanding General, Seine Section (Paris 
area), serving in that capacity through end of the war. Senior Instructor, 
ORC, in state of New York until retirement in 1948. 



Ross, Maj. Gen. Frank S. — Born at Aspen, Colo., 1893. Entered military service 
as enlisted man via Texas National Guard in 1916, serving initially on border 
patrol duty. Received Reserve commission in 1917, and, after short tour of 
duty in France in 1918, returned to United States and accepted RA commis- 
sion in 1920. Had the usual peacetime itinerary: Infantry School, service in 
Philippines, PMS&T at North Dakota Agricultural College, duty with 
Civilian Conservation Corps. Graduated from Command and General Staff 
School in 1931, and from Army War College in 1936. Between 1938 and 
1942 served in G-4 Section of War Department General Staff. Essentially a 
combat officer, and as late as March 1942 was assigned to command medium 
tank regiment in armored division. Shortly thereafter was selected as Chief 
of Transportation of European Theater. Held this post until end of the war 
except for brief tour in same capacity in North African Theater. Had absorb- 
ing interest in marksmanship during his years in the Infantry, holding the 
Distinguished Marksman Medal, the highest Army award as a rifle shot. 
High-strung, and full of restless, driving energy, Ross, like Hawley and 
Moore, was regarded as one of the ablest of the technical service chiefs. 
Scornful of formality, and a man for whom only the essentials mattered, he 
presented a personality contrasting sharply with that of his superior, General 
Lee. Retired in 1946. 

Rowan, Brig. Gen. Hugh W. — Born in Newport, R. L, 1894. Graduated from 
Yale University in 1915 (B. S.) and from Harvard in 1917 (M. A.) Commis- 
sioned as 2d lieutenant in Coast Artillery Corps, RA, in 1917. Saw action 
with 89th Division in France in 1918 as Chemical Warfare officer. Resigned 
commission in 1919, and was recommissioned in Chemical Warfare Service 
in lteO. Graduated from Army Industrial College in 1925. Held various 
assignments in Chemical Warfare Service, including teaching at Chemical 
Warfare School and Army Industrial College. Assistant Military Attache in 
Berlin for four years. Served in Office of the Chief of Chemical Warfare from 
1938 to 1942; then became Chemical Warfare Officer of European Theater, 
holding that position through the war. In 1945 named President of Chemical 
Corps Board at Edgewood Arsenal, and in 1951 assigned to Chemical 
Training Center at Fort McClellan, Ala. 

Rumbough, Maj. Gen. William S. — Born in Lynchburg, Va., 1892. Entered 
Army as enlisted man in National Guard, serving with 5th (Maryland) 
Infantry in 1916-17. Continued in various infantry assignments, including 
duty in France and Germany, until 1920, when transferred to Signal Corps. 
Graduated from Signal School in 1924, from George Washington University 
in 1927, from Command and General Staff Schol in 1931, and from Army 
War College in 1934. Was PMS&T at University of Illinois in 1920, and held 
various Signal Corps assignments thereafter, including duty in Hawaii. 
Became Chief Signal Officer of the European Theater in 1942, continuing 
through end of the war. Retired in 1946. 


Sayler, Maj. Gen. Henry B. — Born in Huntington, Ind., 1893. Graduated from 
U.S. Military Academy and appointed 2d lieutenant in Coast Artillery 
Corps in 1915. Served with artillery units in France in 1917-18. Attended 
Ordnance School, Watertown Arsenal (Mass.), in 1922, and Command and 
General Staff School in 1933. Held assignments as Ordnance Officer of 7th 
Division at Camp Meade, Md., Post Ordnance Officer at Fort Riley, Kans., 
and Ordnance Officer of the Fourth Corps Area at Atlanta, Ga. Became 
Chief Ordnance Officer, European Theater in 1942, continuing in that post, 
like the other technical service chiefs in the ETO, until end of hostilities. 
Principal postwar assignment as Chief of the Research and Development 
Division, Office of the Chief of Ordnance. Retired in 1949. 

Stratton, Brig. Gen. James H. — Born in Stonington, Conn., 1898. Entered Army 
as enlisted man via New Jersey National Guard in 1917. Graduated from 
U.S. Military Academy and appointed 2d lieutenant in Field Artillery in 
1 920. Immediately transferred to Corps of Engineers, graduating from Engi- 
neer School in 1921, and from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute at Troy, 
N. Y, with degree in Civil Engineering in 1923. Served in various engineer- 
ing assignments, including duty in Panama Canal Zone and in Construction 
Division of Office of the Chief of Engineers in Washington. In 1943 became 
Chief of Operations of the SOS, ETO, and then theater G-4. Returned to 
Office of the Chief of Engineers in Washington early in 1945, subsequently 
serving as Chief, Special Engineering Division, in Panama Canal Zone and 
then as Division Engineer, New England Division. Retired in 1949. 

Thrasher, Brig. Gen. Charles O. — Born in Paxton, 111., 1886. Received tempo- 
rary commission as 2d lieutenant in 1917, serving with Quartermaster Corps 
in France in 1918. Recommissioned as 1st lieutenant in Quartermaster 
Corps, RA, in 1920. Graduated from QM School in 1929, and from Army 
Industrial College in 1930. Assignments included duty in Hawaii and com- 
mand of Seattle Port of Embarkation and QM Depot. In 1942 became 
Commanding General of the newly created Southern Base Section in Eng- 
land which served as main staging area for invasion of Normandy. In 1944 
took command of Oise Intermediate Section of Communications Zone in 
France. Retired in 1946. 

Vaughan, Maj. Gen. Harry B. — Born in Norfolk, Va., 1888. Graduated from 
Virginia Polytechnic Institute with degree in Civil Engineering in 1912. 
Commissioned 1st lieutenant in Engineer Reserve in 1917, and then served 
with AEF in France and on occupation duty in Germany. Graduated from 
Engineer School in 1923, and from Command and General Staff School in 
1930. Assignments included tours of duty in Hawaii, as PMS&T at the 
University of Illinois, in the Office of the Chief of Engineers in Washington, 
and as District Engineer at Philadelphia. Went to European Theater in 1943, 
holding various assignments there, including that of Deputy Commander for 


Forward Echelon, Communications Zone, and then Commanding General 
of United Kingdom Base Section. After end of hostilities became Command- 
ing General of Bremen Port Command. Retired in 1946. 

Wharton, Brig. Gen. James E. — Born in Elk, N. Mex., 1894. Commissioned 2d 
lieutenant in ORC in 1917 and appointed 2d lieutenant in Regular Army 
the same year. Graduated from Command and General Staff School in 1933, 
from Army War College in 1937, and from Army Industrial College in 1940. 
Held usual assignments with infantry units, including tour of duty in the 
Philippines, instructed at Command and General Staff School, and became 
Assistant Division Commander of 80th Division in 1942. In 1943 went to 
England and was later given command of 1st Engineer Special Brigade, 
which supported landings of VII Corps at Utah Beach in Normandy. Killed 
in action within a few hours of taking command of the 28th Infantry Division 
in August 1944. 

Wilson, Maj. Gen. Arthur R. — Born in Cherokee, Calif., 1894. Entered Army as 
enlisted man in 1916, first serving on border duty with 2d Infantry, Califor- 
nia National Guard, and was commissioned 2d lieutenant in Field Artillery 
the following year. Duty between the wars included various assignments with 
artillery units, as PMS&T at Colorado Agricultural College and the Univer- 
sity of Missouri, service in the Philippines, and with the Works Progress 
Administration and the Federal Works Agency. Graduated from Command 
and General Staff School in 1934, and from Army War College and Chem- 
ical Warfare School in 1935. Went to North Africa as head of service forces 
supporting the Western Task Force late in 1942, subsequently becoming 
Commanding General of Atlantic Base Section and Mediterranean Base 
Section in North African Theater. After the landings in southern France, 
commanded Continental Base Section and its successor, the Continental 
Advance Section, retaining that command until end of war. Retired in 
May 1946. 

Wilson, Brig. Gen. Robert W. — Born in Harrisburg, Pa., 1893. Commissioned 2d 
lieutenant of Field Artillery in ORC in 1917 after graduation from Yale 
University, and accepted RA commission the same year. Resigned the latter 
after World War I and reverted to status of Reserve officer. Recalled to 
extended active duty in 1941, graduating from Command and General Staff 
School the same year and going to European Theater in July 1942 to serve 
as G-4 of II Corps in North Africa and Sicily. Returned to England with 
General Bradley in September 1943 to become G-4 of the First Army. Held 
this position through remainder of the war. Served frequent short tours of 
active duty in the years after the war. 



Origins of the European 
Theater of Operations 
1941-June 1942 

(l) The United States "Observes" the War in 

The spectacle of hard-fought air and 
ground battles often obscures the vast and 
prolonged preparations which must pre- 
cede them. When Anglo-American forces 
launched the great cross- Channel invasion 
in June 1944 they did so from an island 
base which probably had witnessed more 
intense and sustained military prepara- 
tions than had any area of equal size in 
history. For the American forces partici- 
pating in this operation these preparations 
had been going on for a full three years. 

The European Theater of Operations, 
United States Army (ETOUSA), came 
into being on 8 June 1942, just two years 
before the D Day of the Normandy inva- 
sion. But this marked only the formal be- 
ginning of the organization which directed 
the build-up of U.S. troops and supplies in 
the British Isles. American soldiers had 
already been in the United Kingdom for 
some time, and earlier organizations had 
furnished the roots from which the tree of 
ETOUSA was to grow. 

After the outbreak of hostilities in Sep- 
tember 1939 the United States maintained 

an increasingly watchful attitude toward 
events in Europe, and in 1940 sent more 
and more military observers to its embas- 
sies abroad. Among them was Maj. Gen. 
James E. Chaney, an Air Corps officer, 
who was sent to England in October to 
observe the air battles which were then 
raging in British skies. By this time the 
Nazis had overrun Denmark, Norway, the 
Netherlands, Belgium, and France in 
quick succession, and Britain stood alone 
to resist the German aggressor. In Decem- 
ber 1940 General Chaney submitted his 
report to the War Department, making 
several recommendations on the adoption 
of British aerial equipment and methods 
of defense, concluding that the Luftwaffe 
had been overrated, and predicting that 
Britain would not be defeated. 

Early in 1941 the United States took 
two steps which more positively aligned 
her with Great Britain in the struggle 
against the Continental enemies, and thus 
added a ray of hope to an otherwise dis- 
mal outlook. On 11 March the 77th Con- 
gress enacted the Lend-Lease Act, initially 
allotting a fund of $7,000,000,000 to pro- 
vide war materials for the democracies of 
the world. While this measure was being 



debated, military leaders of the United 
States and Britain met in Washington in 
the first of several conferences which were 
to have tremendous import for the future 
conduct of the war. On 29 January 1941 
representatives of the U.S. Army Chief of 
Staff and Chief of Naval Operations and 
representatives of the British Chiefs of 
Staff initiated a series of meetings known 
as ABC-1 (for American-British Staff 
Conversations) to establish principles of 
joint operations and determine the best 
method of acting jointly against the Axis 
Powers in the eventuality of U.S. entry 
into the war. The whole matter of Amer- 
ican-British collaboration at this time was 
a delicate one. The United States, main- 
taining a technical neutrality, was discus- 
sing war plans with Great Britain, a bellig- 
erent. For this reason President Franklin 
D. Roosevelt gave no official sanction to 
the meetings and avoided all formal com- 
mitments for the time being. The conver- 
sations were undertaken by military lead- 
ers, the chief instigator being Admiral 
Harold R. Stark, then U.S. Chief of Naval 
Operations, who believed that safety and 
prudence, as well as common sense, dic- 
tated that the United States have some 
sort of initial plan ready in the event it 
suddenly was plunged into war. 1 

Of most immediate importance, so far 
as Anglo-American co-operation was con- 
cerned, was the agreement to collaborate 
continuously in planning. The United 
States and Great Britain were each to 
establish a joint planning staff in the 
other's capital. The conferees also made 
the important decision at this time to con- 
centrate the principal effort against the 
European enemies should the United 
States be forced into the war with both 
Japan and Germany. Finally, the conver- 
sations formally specified naval, land, and 

air tasks and listed the forces which each 
nation was to make available. In accord 
with the course of action already outlined 
in an earlier war plan known as Rainbow 
5, the United States, in the event of its 
entry into the war, planned to provide one 
reinforced division to relieve British forces 
in Iceland, a token force for the defense of 
the United Kingdom, and an air force 
command with both bombardment and 
pursuit squadrons to carry out offensive 
operations against Germany and defensive 
operations against attempted invasion. 
The projected troop basis totaled 87,000 
men in addition to the reinforced division 
for Iceland. 2 Except for the agreement to 
exchange missions and co-ordinate plan- 
ning, action on the ABC-1 decisions was 
contingent on U.S. entry into the conflict. 

The United States and Britain took the 
first step by exchanging military missions. 
In the interest of a tenuous neutrality, 
however, the U.S. mission to London was 
christened the Special Observer Group, or 
SPOBS, and its chief was given the name 
Special Army Observer. General Chaney 
was chosen to head the group, and Brig. 
Gen. Joseph T. McNarney, who headed 
the Joint Planning Committee of the War 
Plans Division and who as a colonel had 
participated in the ABC-1 conversations, 
became his chief of staff. The entire group 
comprised eighteen officers and eleven en- 
listed men. 3 With five of his officers pres- 

1 Ltr, Admiral Stark to Col S.L.A. Marshall, ETO 
Historian, 10 Sep 45, ETO Adm 322B SPOBS Ma- 
terial. See Mark Skinner Watson, Chief of Staff: Pre- 
war Plans and Preparations, UNITED STATES 
ARMY IN WORLD WAR II (Washington, 1950), 
Chapters IV and XII, for the background of the ABC 

2 Memo, Lt Col John E, Dahlquist for Chaney, n. d. 
(Jul or Aug 42), sub: Hq Organization, ETO 381 
Great Britain, U.S. Troops in U.K. 

:i In addition, Rear Adm. Robert L. Ghormley 
headed a Naval Group as Special Naval Observer. 



ent, General Chaney opened temporary 
headquarters in the U. S. Embassy at No. 
1 Grosvenor Square, London, on 19 May 
1941. A few days later he occupied per- 
manent quarters across the square at No. 
18-20, the address that was to remain the 
center of American activity in the United 
Kingdom for the remainder of the war. By 
the end of June the entire Special Ob- 
server Group had arrived and begun to 

It was clear from the beginning that 
SPOBS was to be more than a group of 
observers. Its larger function is indicated 
both in the instructions issued to General 
Chaney and in the tasks to which the 
group immediately set itself; SPOBS was 
instructed to co-ordinate all details rela- 
tive to the reception and accommodation 
of American forces sent to the United 
Kingdom under ABC-1 ; it was to help co- 
ordinate the allocation of equipment 
shipped under lend-lease from the United 
States; and it was to advise the Army 
Chief of Staff as to the manner in which 
U.S. forces were to be employed in the 
United Kingdom. In short, it was to "deal 
with any problem which arose in connec- 
tion with the war plan agreed upon under 
ABC-1." 4 

The instructions pointed out the neces- 
sity of establishing as soon as possible all 
channels of co-operation between the 
armed forces of the two countries, and 
authorized SPOBS to conduct negotia- 
tions with the British Chiefs of Staff on 
military affairs of common interest relat- 
ing to joint co-operation in British areas of 
responsibility. All military matters requir- 
ing joint decision were henceforth to be 
taken up through SPOBS (or the British 
military mission in Washington) rather 
than diplomatic channels, with the result 
that SPOBS became the sole agency 

through which American representatives 
in London presented military matters to 
British military officials. 5 

To the casual observer SPOBS might 
have appeared to be merely part of the ex- 
panding staff of the U.S. Embassy in Lon- 
don, for the entire group wore civilian 
clothes. But its duties were essentially 
those of a military mission, and it was 
organized along traditional military staff 
lines. General Chaney's instructions noted 
that he was to be provided with a general 
and special staff designated as special as- 
sistant army observers, and gave clear in- 
dications of SPOBS' possible transforma- 
tion. "Your appointment . . . they 
read, "is preliminary to your possible ap- 
pointment at a later date as Army mem- 
ber of the United States Military Mission 
in London." The British concept regard- 
ing the purpose of the London and Wash- 
ington missions was similar. They were to 
make whatever plans and achieve what- 
ever co-ordination they found necessary to 
insure a smooth and rapid transition from 
peace to war in the event that the United 
States entered the conflict. 6 

SPOBS' first task was to establish liai- 
son with the appropriate British agencies. 
Upon their arrival in the United King- 
dom General Chaney and General 
McNarney immediately called on the 
British Chiefs of Staff Committee, which 
included Admiral Sir Dudley Pound, First 
Sea Lord and Chief of the Naval Staff, 
Field Marshall Sir John Dill, Chief of the 

4 Min of War Cabinet Conf, 27 May 41, cited in 
[Henry G. Elliott] The Predecessor Commands, 
SPOBS and USAFBI, Pt. I of The Administrative 
and Logistical History of the ETO, Hist Div USFET, 
1946, MS (hereafter cited as The Predecessor Com- 
mands), p. 24, OGMH. 

5 Ltr, Marshall to Chaney, 26 Apr 41, sub: Ltrof 
Instructions, Incl to Ltr, Chaney to Chief, Hist Div, 
21 Oct 46, OCMH. 

6 Min of War Cabinet Gonf, '27 May 41, 




HEADQUARTERS, ETO, at 20 Grosvenor Square, London. 

Imperial General Staff, Air Chief Marshal 
Sir Charles Portal, Chief of the Air Staff, 
and Maj. Gen. Hastings L. Ismay, Chief 
Staff Officer to the Ministry of Defence. In 
the succeeding six months representatives 
of SPOBS attended eight meetings of the 
Operational Planning Section of the Brit- 
ish Joint Planning Staff to discuss such 
various subjects as liaison with military 
agencies, the strategic situation in the 
Middle East, Russian requests for lend- 
lease aid, and problems of an air offensive 
against Germany. In addition to establish- 
ing this high-level liaison, the general and 
special staff officers of the Special Ob- 
server Group made contact with their op- 
posite numbers in the British Army and 
Royal Air Force (RAF). Lt. Col. Charles 
L. Bolte, Assistant Chief of Staff for War 
Plans (then G-5), for example, and Lt. 

Col. Homer Case, G-2, examined the 
British airdrome defense network; the 
SPOBS ordnance officer, Lt. Col. John W. 
Coffey, inspected British ordnance equip- 
ment; the antiaircraft officer, Lt. Col. Dale 
D. Hinman, conferred with British officers 
on antiaircraft defenses; and so on. Before 
long the special observers were well along 
with their first mission — establishing liai- 
son with the British, learning about their 
equipment and methods of operation, and 
exchanging information. 

(2) The Occupation of Iceland 

SPOBS had been in the United King- 
dom only a few weeks and had hardly 
started on these duties when it was called 
on to undertake a major project — arrang- 
ing for the American occupation of Ice- 



land. Even though the United States had 
not entered the war, President Roosevelt 
had negotiated an agreement with the 
Icelandic Government shortly after the 
ABC-1 meetings whereby the protection 
of the country was entrusted to the United 
States, and American troops were invited 
to occupy the island. Iceland held a stra- 
tegic position as a vital link in communica- 
tions between North America and the 
British Isles, and aircraft based there could 
cover a portion of the North Atlantic 
shipping routes. 

While the decisions on the shipment of 
an occupying force were made by the War 
Department, SPOBS immediately became 
involved in an advisory capacity and in 
providing liaison with the British. Early in 
June it was agreed that a Joint Admiralty- 
War Office-Air Ministry committee should 
work with SPOBS in planning the relief of 
British forces. Seven of the special ob- 
servers, including Lt. Col. George W. 
Griner, G-4, Lt. Col. Donald A, Davison, 
Engineer, Maj. Ralph A. Snavely, Assist- 
ant Air Officer, and other special staff 
officers, immediately made a reconnais- 
sance tour of Iceland. At the conclusion 
of the tour Colonel Griner went on to the 
United States to advise the War Depart- 
ment on such matters as shipping, the pro- 
vision of fighter aircraft, cold weather 
clothing, housing, and fuel. 

Plans for the size and composition of the 
Iceland force underwent repeated changes 
in the summer of 1941, partly because of 
the legislative restrictions on employment 
of selectees and Reserve officers. In July 
the War Department actually temporarily 
canceled plans to send the 5th Division to 
Iceland. This restraint was finally over- 
come by the passage of the Selective Serv- 
ice Extension Act late in August. Mean- 
while a force of approximately 4,400 
marines of the 1st Provisional Brigade 

under Brig. Gen. John Marston landed at 
Reykjavik on 7 July. One month later the 
first Army troops landed — the 33d Pursuit 
Squadron of the Air Forces — 1,200 of its 
men arriving via ship. Planes of the squad- 
ron were brought in by the aircraft carrier 
Wasp, whence they were flown to their sta- 
tions under British air escort. Army 
ground troops did not begin to arrive until 
mid-September, when 5,000 men of the 
10th Infantry Regiment and the 46th 
Field Artillery Battalion landed as an ad- 
vance detachment of the 5th Division 
under Maj. Gen. Charles H. Bonesteel. 
War Department plans called for addi- 
tional shipments to augment the Iceland 
force, and General Bonesteel was asked to 
establish priorities for the units to be sent, 
taking into consideration such factors as 
housing, storage, and port facilities. In the 
remaining months before the Pearl Harbor 
attack, plans for the reinforcement of the 
Iceland garrison continued to fluctuate, 
and after 7 December were subject to even 
more drastic revisions. Late in January the 
first of the Marine battalions sailed for the 
United States, and by early March the 
entire Marine brigade had departed. But 
these withdrawals were more than bal- 
anced by additional shipments of other 
ground troops. Approximately 14,000 
American troops were added to the Ice- 
land force by convoys arriving in March, 
April, and May 1942. As they took over 
more and more of the scattered camps and 
other installations on the island, the relief 
of the British forces was gradually accom- 
plished. The first contingent had departed 
in September 1941, although the British 
force still totaled nearly 12,000 at the end 
of May 1942. By the end of September it 
had dropped to less than 800. General 
Bonesteel in the meantime had assumed 
command of the combined forces on the 
island when the commanding general of 



the British forces departed in April 1942. 

One of the major problems faced by the 
occupying force was the dearth of facilities. 
Providing adequate security for Iceland, a 
barren island with 2,500 miles of exposed 
shore line, meant wide dispersal of troops. 
The 5th Division alone had to occupy 
some ninety camps, many of them in pla- 
toon strength only. SPOBS was directly 
involved in arranging for the accommoda- 
tion and supply of the Iceland force and 
negotiated with the British for many items, 
including construction materials. Partly 
because reception facilities at Reykjavik 
were limited, shipment of Nissen hutting 
lagged, and American units met their 
initial needs by taking over in place much 
of the equipment of the British troops and 
U.S. Marines, including motor vehicles, 
huts, artillery and antiaircraft weapons, 
construction materials, and maintenance 
stocks. Property acquired from the British 
was accounted for through reverse lend- 
lease vouchers. 

The question of command and opera- 
tional control of the Iceland force pro- 
vided the first of several points on which 
General Chaney and the War Department 
were to disagree. U.S. Army forces in Ice- 
land were under the control of General 
Headquarters (GHQ) in Washington, and 
in August 1941 the War Department pro- 
posed to group the Iceland troops with 
those of Newfoundland and Greenland for 
command purposes. Because strategic re- 
sponsibility for Iceland rested with the 
British, even after the relief of their forces 
by American troops, General Chaney con- 
sidered Iceland more rightly a part of the 
British sphere of operation. He thought 
that American troops stationed in Iceland 
and in the United Kingdom should be 
grouped together. Such in fact was the 
concept agreed to in the ABC-1 conversa- 
tions. GHQ, on the other hand, held that 

Iceland's chief importance lay in its posi- 
tion as a vital link in communications, and 
pointed out that the island could never be 
used as a base for offensive operations 
against the European Continent. Further- 
more, should the island be attacked, rein- 
forcements, naval support, supplies, and 
replacements all would have to come from 
the United States, For several months to 
come the U.S. Iceland forces came directly 
under the field force commander at GHQ 
in Washington (Gen. George C. Marshall). 

But General Chaney' s view that Iceland 
belonged strategically to the European 
theater eventually won out with the War 
Department. The island was included in 
the theater boundaries when ETQUSA 
was created in June 1942, and thus came 
under the theater command for tactical 
purposes. Administrative and logistical 
matters, however, were exempted from 
theater control and were to be handled by 
direct contact with the War Department. 
The supply of Iceland was therefore to 
continue from the Boston Port of Em- 
barkation, except for a few items such as 
Nissen huts and coal, which could be 
furnished more cheaply from the United 
Kingdom. 7 

(3 ) American Troops Go to Northern Ireland 

The Special Observers had been called 
on to arrange for the reception of U.S. 
soldiers in Iceland on very short notice, 
since the troop movement had not awaited 
U.S. entry into the war. For the eventual 
arrival of American contingents in the 
United Kingdom SPOBS had more time 
to prepare. 

The ABC-1 agreements had provided 
for the establishment of four "forces" in 
the United Kingdom— a bomber force of 

7 The above is drawn from Chapter II of The 
Predecessor Commands, 



about 36,000 men, a token force of about 
7,500 men for the British Southeastern 
Command area, a Northern Ireland force 
of 30,000, and a force of 13,500 in Scot- 
land — with a total strength of about 87,000 
men. A good portion of these troops was to 
be employed in the defense of naval and 
air bases used primarily by American 
units, and SPOBS had immediately taken 
steps to arrange for the construction of 
these bases. As early as June 1941 the 
British Government signed contracts with 
an American firm for the construction of 
naval bases in Northern Ireland and Scot- 
land, the costs to be met through an alloca- 
tion of lend-lease funds. Skilled labor from 
the United States as well as unskilled labor 
recruited locally or in Eire was to be em- 
ployed. The first contingent of approxi- 
mately 350 American technicians arrived 
at the end of June, and work on the 
projects began immediately. In view of the 
U.S. position as a nonbelligerent these 
projects were undertaken ostensibly by the 
British and for the British. International 
law did not restrict the nationals of a neu- 
tral state from volunteering for service in 
the employment of a belligerant. Antici- 
pating enemy propaganda on this point 
the British Foreign Office admitted the 
presence of workmen from the United 
States in Ulster, taking pains to emphasize 
that they had exercised a legal right to 
become employees of the British Govern- 
ment. 8 Technically, therefore, American 
neutrality was not compromised, although 
the bases were being built by American 
contractors with American money for the 
eventuality of American use. 

At the same time SPOBS began a study 
of the troop needs for the protection of 
these bases, the number of pursuit planes 
required, and the accommodations needed, 
and undertook reconnaissance tours to 

both Northern Ireland and Scotland. Ten- 
tative agreement was reached in July on 
the location of airfields north of London, 
and by September construction was in 
progress on five 1,000-man camps in 
southern England for the token force. 

A detailed report on a reconnaissance of 
Northern Ireland revealed some of the 
problems and some of the requirements 
which had to be met to prepare for the 
arrival of U.S. troops. A depot was needed 
at Langford Lodge for third echelon re- 
pair, maintenance, and supply of spare 
parts for American-built aircraft. The 
quartermaster officer suggested that a gen- 
eral depot be established and, to improve 
the inadequate baking, laundry, and motor 
repair facilities, also recommended an in- 
crease in the allotment of quartermaster 
troops for the Northern Ireland force. 
There were too few freight cars, a portion 
of the harbor facilities at Belfast had been 
destroyed by enemy air attacks, and there 
was a great need for lumber, trucks, and 
other equipment. In an earlier preliminary 
report to the War Department General 
Chaney had already apprised it of some of 
the deficiencies, pointing out the shortages 
in both skilled and unskilled labor, and 
warning that much of the construction 
material needed for the Northern Ireland 
installations would have to come from the 
United States. In the course of later sur- 
veys it was recognized that the construc- 
tion of installations and troop accom- 
modations would undoubtedly be the most 
troublesome task. Early in December 
Colonel Davison, the SPOBS Engineer, 
submitted to the War Plans Division of 
GHQ and to the Chief of Engineers in 

8 John W. Blake, Official War History of Northern 
Ireland, Draft Ch. VII, The Coming of the Americans 
to Northern Ireland, 1941-1944, p. 20. 



Washington a proposed construction plan 
for Northern Ireland, with recommenda- 
tions on the procurement of labor and 
construction materials, and a proposed 
division of planning responsibilities be- 
tween the War Department agencies and 
those in the United Kingdom. 

Other SPOBS officers made additional 
visits to Northern Ireland in the fall of 
1941 to gather information on antiaircraft 
defenses, on the military and political situ- 
ation in Eire, and on other matters. By 
December, when the United States was 
drawn into the war, SPOBS was thor- 
oughly familiar with the situation in 
Northern Ireland and aware of the prob- 
lems which required solution before Amer- 
ican troops could be received there. 

Throughout the months before Pearl 
Harbor SPOBS walked a tightrope to 
avoid violating U.S. neutrality. In an 
early report on his group's activities Gen- 
eral Chaney took pains to point out that 
he had scrupulously "emphasized con- 
stantly that the Special Observer is not 
authorized to make commitments of any 
nature and that all British construction in 
the area is undertaken with a view to 
British utilization and is not contingent 
upon U.S. participation in the war." 9 

The situation was radically altered in 
the days following the Pearl Harbor at- 
tack. The declaration of war between the 
United States and Germany and Italy on 
1 1 December 1941 removed the need for 
subterfuge and caution, and the War De- 
partment acted swiftly to put into opera- 
tion the ABC-1 agreements. But Rainbow 
5, which was to have implemented ABC-1 , 
was never actually put into effect as far as 
the British Isles were concerned. The origi- 
nal troop estimates and plans for Northern 
Ireland now fell short of actual require- 
ments, not because the United States 

entered the war, but because American 
soldiers had to relieve British troops that 
were needed in North Africa. Rainbow 5 
consequently was superseded by a plan 
called Magnet, which called for the ship- 
ment of a much larger American force to 
Northern Ireland. In place of the 30,000 
previously planned, a force of four divi- 
sions (three infantry and one armored) 
plus service troops was now contemplated, 
totaling approximately 105,000 men. 
American forces were to relieve mobile 
elements of the British forces in Northern 
Ireland and assume a larger share of the 
responsibility for defending it against Axis 
attack. About 30,000 antiaircraft troops 
were to be dispatched later to take over 
the defense of Northern Ireland against 
air attack. American units initially were 
to be dependent on the British for quarters, 
certain types of aircraft, antiaircraft and 
other light artillery weapons, and am- 

The U.S. entry into the war also led 
logically to the transformation of SPOBS 
into something more than "special ob- 
servers." On 8 January, while SPOBS was 
making arrangements for the reception of 
the projected troop shipments, the War 
Department took the first step to establish 
a U.S. Army headquarters in the United 
Kingdom by authorizing the activation of 
the United States Army Forces in the 
British Isles (USAFBI). General Chaney 
was retained as its commander and was 
also named Army member of the United 
States Military Mission to Great Britain. 
The latter office was short-lived, and the 
order establishing the organization was 
soon revoked. 10 

9 The Predecessor Commands, pp. 68-69. 

10 Gbl 293, AGWAR to SPOBS, 8 Jan 43, ETO 
Adm 502 Boundaries and Gomd. 



Meanwhile the commander of USAFBI 
designated a general and special staff. 
Actually the change initially involved little 
more than a change in letterheads, for it 
amounted to nothing more than a transfer 
of the special observers to the same posi- 
tions in the new headquarters. It would 
have been difficult to distinguish between 
the old SPOBS group and the new head- 
quarters. The staff still consisted of Col. 
John E. Dahlquist as G-l, Colonel Case as 
G~2, Col. Harold M. McClelland as G-3, 
Colonel Griner as G-4, Lt. Col. Iverson B. 
Summers as Adjutant General, Colonel 
Davison as Engineer, Col. Alfred J. Lyon 
as Air Officer, Lt. Col. Jerry V. Matejka as 
Signal Officer, Lt. Col. William H. Mid- 
dleswart as Quartermaster, and Colonel 
Coffey as Ordnance Officer. Colonel Bolte 
(G-5) was now chief of staff in place of 
General McNarney, who had returned to 
Washington, Col. Aaron Bradshaw had 
become Antiaircraft Officer, and Col. Paul 
R. Hawley had become the Chief Surgeon. 
Several staff positions remained unfilled 
for lack of officers, for the War Department 
did not immediately provide General 
Chaney with the necessary personnel to 
organize even a skeleton headquarters. 11 
Nor was the establishment of USAFBI ac- 
companied by a directive assigning 
Chaney a definite mission. The activation 
of the new command was therefore in a 
sense largely a formalization of the status 
of SPOBS. Nevertheless, the creation of 
USAFBI marked the establishment of an 
Army command in the United Kingdom, 
giving General Chaney command over all 
the American forces that soon would be 
coming into the British Isles. General 
Chaney' s duties as a special observer con- 
tinued, a matter which later caused some 
confusion, and he lacked some of the 
powers of a theater commander. But 

USAFBI was eventually to grow into 

For tactical purposes the Northern Ire- 
land force was organized as V Corps, and 
was planned to consist of the 1st Armored 
and the 32d, 34th, and 37th Infantry Di- 
visions, plus supporting and service troops. 
Machinery had immediately been set in 
motion in the War Department to assemble 
and dispatch the first contingent, but the 
plans for its size saw frequent changes. At 
one time they called for an initial ship- 
ment of 1 7,300 men, which was then re- 
duced to 4,100 so that troop needs in the 
Pacific could be met. The advance party 
of the first Magnet contingent arrived at 
Gourock, Scotland, on 19 January 1942. 
The following day the enlisted men were 
taken to Glasgow and outfitted with civil- 
ian clothes at the Austin Reed clothing 
firm. The seventeen officers meanwhile 
went on to London for conferences, most 
of them proceeding to Belfast on 23 Janu- 
ary wearing civilian clothes "borrowed 
from Londoners for the occasion." 

Despite the weak attempts to keep secret 
the coming arrival of American troops, 
which even involved discussing the choice 
of the correct moment for notifying the 
government of Eire, the secret was poorly 
kept, and the fact that American troops 
would soon appear in Ulster was well 
known to many who had no official knowl- 
edge of the plans. On 26 January the first 
contingent of the Magnet force — about 
4,000 troops — debarked at Belfast. Maj. 
Gen. Russell P. Hartle, commanding gen- 
eral of the 34th Division, was the first to go 
ashore and was met by several high 
officials, including John Andrews, the 
Prime Minister of Northern Ireland; the 
Duke of Abercorn, Governor General; 

11 Memo, Dahlquist for Bolte, 22 Apr 46, OGMH. 



General G. E. W. Franklyn, commander 
of British troops in Ulster; and Sir Archi- 
bald Sinclair, Secretary of State for Air. 
As representatives of the British Govern- 
ment they officially welcomed the U.S. 

Plans for the ceremony at Dufferin 
Quay had provided that the first Amer- 
ican soldier to set foot in Northern Ireland 
should be properly publicized and photo- 
graphed, and arrangements accordingly 
had been made for a suitable time gap be- 
tween the arrival of the first and second 
tenders. To the horror of the planners, the 
"first" American soldier was just about to 
come down the gangway when they heard 
the strains of a band at the head of a col- 
umn which had already debarked and was 
marching down the dock road from an- 
other quay. While the "first" man — Pfc, 
Milburn H. Henke of Hutchinson, Minne- 
sota, an infantryman of the 34th Divi- 
sion — was duly publicized, about 500 had 
actually preceded him. 12 A second incre- 
ment of approximately 7,000 men reached 
Northern Ireland on 2 March. 

On 24 January, two days before the ar- 
rival of the first Magnet contingent, the 
first ground force command was estab- 
lished in the United Kingdom when crea- 
tion of United States Army Northern 
Ireland Force (USANIF) was officially 
announced. Headquarters, USANIF, was 
actually little more than V Corps head- 
quarters, the highest ground force head- 
quarters in the United Kingdom. Maj. 
Gen. Edmund L. Daley, who had com- 
manded the V Corps in the United States, 
had been designated commanding general 
of the new headquarters. He never came 
to the United Kingdom, however, and the 
command went to General Hartle, who 
also retained his command of the 34th 

USANIF, or V Corps, was initially both 
a tactical and administrative headquar- 
ters controlling the combat as well as ad- 
ministrative installations of Northern Ire- 
land. In order to meet the need for an 
administrative base should the V Corps 
be assigned a tactical mission, it was de- 
cided to organize a striking force, a force 
reserve, and a base command. The strik- 
ing force was to consist of the V Corps; the 
force reserve was to include any other 
troops that might become available; and 
the base command was to provide for all 
the administrative and supply details 
and a permanent area command in 
Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland Base 
Command was accordingly established 
on 1 June under Brig. Gen. Leroy P. 
Collins, former division artillery com- 
mander of the 34th Division. The North- 
ern Ireland command — that is, V Corps, 
or USANIF — was of course subordinate 
to the command of General Chaney, 
though for operational control V Corps 
came under the British commander in 
Northern Ireland. 

The problem of housing American 
troops in Britain naturally became urgent 
after the United States entered the war. 
On the basis of the ABC-1 plans General 
Chaney quickly resurveyed the accommo- 
dations situation in Northern Ireland for 
the War Department, listing the British 
housing already available and indicating 
the required construction. In January he 
sent Colonel Davison, engineer member 
of SPOBS, to Washington with detailed 
data on construction problems in the 
United Kingdom, and within a month 
Colonel Davison reported that the War 
Department had approved his basic plans. 

12 Official War History of Northern Ireland, p. 33; 
The Predecessor Commands, pp. 91-92. 



Northern Ireland, accompanied by General Chaney to his left and General Hart le. 

They were changed frequently, however, 
because of the shifting troop basis. Even 
while Colonel Davison was in Washington 
the troop basis for Northern Ireland was 
more than tripled. Subsequently the size 
of the first contingent was drastically re- 
duced. Fortunately the early shipments 
could be quartered in camps evacuated by 
the British. Camp commanders worked 
closely with the local British garrison offi- 
cers through American utility officers who 
saw to it that existing rules and regula- 
tions on maintenance were carried out 
and that the necessary services were pro- 
vided. In wartime Britain accommoda- 
tions were always at a premium because of 
one shortage or another. In an effort to 
overcome the steel shortages in the United 

Kingdom, a mutual exchange of Amer- 
ican steel for British Nissen huts was 
arranged in February. While this improvi- 
sation helped, it did not solve the problem, 
and huts for US ANIF installations were 
scarce from the beginning. Early in March 
General Chaney instructed General Hartle 
to formulate a detailed program of con- 
struction necessary to accommodate the 
proposed Magnet force, and authorized 
the extension of contracts which an Amer- 
ican firm, the G. A. Fuller- Merritt Chap- 
man Corporation, already had with the 
Navy. The construction undertaken in the 
next few months closely approximated 
early plans. Of the projects completed by 
June 1942, four were carried out by U.S. 
Army engineers (mainly enlargements of 



NISSEN HUT QUARTERS for American troops arriving in Northern Ireland, 1942. Note 
World War I helmets. 

existing British installations), twelve by 
contracting firms, two by British labor, 
one by the U.S. Navy, and one by the 
British Air Ministry. 13 

Accommodating the Northern Ireland 
forces was only one of many difficulties 
which SPOBS and USAFBI faced. There 
were problems of security, hospitalization, 
postal service, recreation, maintenance 
supplies, and even such mundane matters 
as laundry, dry cleaning, and shoe repair 
services. Lacking their own service organ- 
ization and their own maintenance sup- 
plies, the first American troops in North- 
ern Ireland relied heavily on the already 
overtaxed British for many of these serv- 
ices and for many items of supply and 

To the first U.S. troops, arriving in old- 
style helmets that brought to mind the 
World War I soldier, Britain was a strange 
country where they were quartered in 
oddly constructed buildings, ate strange- 
tasting English food, drank weak, warm 
beer, and reported for sick call to British 
military and civilian hospitals. The first 
divisions came to Northern Ireland with- 
out their 105-mm. howitzers and were 
provided with British 25-pounders instead. 
To avoid completely retraining the Amer- 
ican gun crews, these weapons were 
adapted so that the U.S. troops could use 

i;i Field and Service Force Construction (United 
Kingdom), Hist Rpt 7, Corps of Engrs, ETO, prep 
by Ln Sec, Int Div, OCofEngrs ETO, Aug 45, MS, p. 
37. ETO Adm. 



the panoramic sights they were accus- 
tomed to. Even rations had to be provided 
by the British, and British Army cooks 
were left in camps taken over by USANIF 
to acquaint American mess sergeants with 
the use of British rations and equipment. 
The earliest supply ships arrived on 8 
February, and on 18 March U. S. troops 
ate American rations for the first time. 
USAFBI had by this time established 
priorities for supply shipments to the 
United Kingdom. Included in the early 
requisitions were the usual PX "morale" 
supplies, including the inevitable Coca- 

Some of USAFBI's problems in receiv- 
ing and accommodating the U.S. force — 
particularly construction — were partially 
and temporarily alleviated by the fact that 
the full strength of the projected V Corps 
force never came to Ireland. A third ship- 
ment, comprising additional units of the 
34th Infantry and 1st Armored Divisions, 
arrived on 12 May, and a fourth contin- 
gent of approximately 10,000 troops car- 
ried in the Queen Mary landed a few days 
later. With these shipments the Northern 
Ireland force reached its peak strength in 
1942, totaling 32,202. Plans had changed 
at least twice during the build-up, and by 
the end of May the V Corps consisted of 
only the 34th Infantry and 1st Armored 
Divisions, plus certain corps troops. Thus, 
the Magnet plans were never fully devel- 
oped. V Corps remained the highest U.S. 
ground force command in the United 
Kingdom for some time, though it was to 
move from Northern Ireland and its divi- 
sions were to be withdrawn for the North 
African operation. Instead of becoming a 
ground force base, therefore, Northern 
Ireland in 1942 developed as a base for 
the Air Forces and as a base section of the 
Services of Supply. 

(4 ) Establishing an Air Force in the United 

The U.S. entry into the war called for 
fulfillment of still another provision of 
ABC-1 and Rainbow 5 — the build-up of 
an American air force in the British Isles. 
The conversations of early 1941 had spe- 
cifically provided for an air offensive 
against the enemy should the United 
States enter the war. The force which was 
to be sent to the United Kingdom under 
the ABC-1 agreements was designed al- 
most entirely for air operations or for sup- 
port of such operations. Plans provided for 
the shipment of thirty-two bombardment 
and pursuit squadrons to Britain. The 
bombardment force — about 36,000 men — 
was to be located in England and was to 
carry out an offensive mission against the 
Continent. In addition, both the Northern 
Ireland and Scotland forces (30,000 and 
13,500 respectively) had large components 
of pursuit aviation and antiaircraft units 
and were designed to defend air and naval 
bases. Only the small token force of 7,500 
in southern England was to have no air 

Air operations were in fact the only sus- 
tained offensive operations to be carried 
out from the United Kingdom for some 
time to come. Preparations for the air 
force build-up consequently assumed pri- 
mary importance in 1941 and early 1942, 
and the initial prominence given this as- 
pect of the American build-up was re- 
flected in the large representation of air 
officers in the Special Observer Group, in- 
cluding Generals Chaney and McNarney, 
Colonel McClelland, the G-3, and Colo- 
nel Lyon and Major Snavely in the Air 
Section. Within a few weeks of its arrival 
in the United Kingdom SPOBS had met 
with the British Air Ministry, discussed 



problems of an air offensive against Ger- 
many with the British Joint Planning 
Staff, and gathered information on air- 
craft and British methods of air opera- 
tions. In July tentative agreements were 
reached on the location of airfields for the 
use of American bombardment units, and 
several of the observers made reconnais- 
sance tours of Scotland and Northern 
Ireland to examine potential sites for air 
bases and training areas. Further surveys 
in the fall of 1941 resulted in the selection 
of eight airfields then under construction 
in the Huntingdon area, sixty-five miles 
north of London, for use by the first 
American bomber units. By the time the 
United States entered the war General 
Chaney and his group had made excellent 
progress in establishing liaison with the 
British and in arranging for accommoda- 
tions for the projected American troop 

General Chaney was considerably less 
successful in getting his ideas on command 
and organization accepted for the United 
Kingdom. In September 1941, a few 
months after his arrival in England, he 
proposed to General Marshall a system of 
operational and administrative controls in 
the United Kingdom based on the ABC-1 
and Rainbow 5 provision for the several 
forces for the British Isles. General 
Chaney's plan called for a series of area 
commands, one each for the token force, 
Northern Ireland, and Scotland, a bomb- 
er command, and in addition a base com- 
mand for supply services in England and 
Scotland. A few weeks later, while Chaney 
was temporarily on duty in Washington, 
Lt. Gen. Henry H. Arnold, chief of the 
Army Air Forces, precipitated a prolonged 
argument over the question of organiza- 
tion and command by suggesting that 
American forces in the United Kingdom 

be organized into two major commands, 
one for the ground forces and one for the 
air forces. General Chaney objected vigor- 
ously to this counterproposal in a letter 
early in December, pointing out that 
American air units would be operating 
under the British and that there was no 
reason for interposing another headquar- 
ters between the over-all American com- 
mand and the British. He held further 
that, with the exception of the small token 
force, the only purpose for the presence of 
American ground troops in the United 
Kingdom was to contribute to the success- 
ful operation of air combat units. General 
Chaney's concept was based on ABC-1 
and Rainbow 5, which made no provision 
for large American ground forces in the 
United Kingdom or for any offensive mis- 
sion for ground troops. His concept thus 
embraced two basic missions for American 
forces in the United Kingdom — an air of- 
fensive and defense. The air defense of 
Britain, he maintained, could not be sub- 
divided, and American pursuit units 
would have to be placed operationally 
under the British fighter command. For 
offensive operations he favored the crea- 
tion of a bomber command under the 
over-all American commander. The rela- 
tively small ground forces were to come to 
the United Kingdom primarily to assist 
the air units in their missions and would 
therefore come under the various area 
commands. 14 

14 This section is based on [Robert W. Goakley] 
Organization and Command in the ETO, Pt. II of 
The Administrative and Logistical History of the 
ETO, Hist Div USFET, 1946, MS (hereafter cited as 
Organization and Command), I, 16-20, and on 
Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate, eds., The 
Army Air Forces in World War II: I, Plans and Early Op- 
erations, January 1939 to August 1942 (Chicago, 1948), 
pp. 575-90, .618-54. 



With the implementation of Rainbow 
5 following U.S. entry into the war, 
and with the creation of USAFBI, Gen- 
eral Chaney's position was temporarily 
strengthened. But the concept of the 
Rainbow 5 plan was almost immediately 
altered by the revision that provided for a 
greatly enlarged ground force in the 
United Kingdom. General Arnold was 
therefore encouraged to revive his scheme 
for an over-all air command and again 
urged the acceptance of his ideas on both 
General Chaney and General Marshall 
late in January 1942. General Chaney 
once more rejected his arguments, noting 
that Arnold's proposed structure would 
only parallel the British organization and 
use up badly needed personnel. GHQ 
momentarily upheld General Chaney in 
this stand; but it was a losing battle, for 
the trend was now definitely toward the 
organization of three co-ordinate forces or 
commands in each theater — air, ground, 
and service — and this trend was to be re- 
flected shortly in the War Department's 
own reorganization along these lines. Gen- 
eral Arnold's arguments were further 
strengthened by the Joint Chiefs' accept- 
ance of the view that pursuit aircraft sent 
to the United Kingdom would no longer 
be considered limited to a defensive role. 

The headquarters of the Eighth Air 
Force and its component bomber, inter- 
ceptor, and base commands were acti- 
vated in the United States in the last days 
of January. In order to prepare for the 
earliest possible commitment of American 
air units in the United Kingdom, Brig. 
Gen. Ira C. Eaker was designated bomber 
commander of USAFBI and immediately 
sent to England. The instructions he car- 
ried stated specifically that he was to pre- 
pare not only for the reception of his own 
command but also for an intermediate air 

headquarters between bomber headquar- 
ters and the theater commander. General 
Arnold thus proceeded on the assumption 
that his scheme of command and organ- 
ization would ultimately be accepted. 

General Eaker arrived in England on 
20 February and immediately presented 
his plans for the establishment of an 
American air force. On 22 February Gen- 
eral Chaney ordered the establishment of 
a bomber command (shortly to be named 
the VIII Bomber Command), but found 
Eaker's proposal for an air force command 
difficult to accept. The USAFBI staff was 
anything but receptive to the air force 
plan, and General Chaney continued to 
protest it to the War Department. The lat- 
ter, in the throes of planning for the sec- 
ond front, at first was disposed to support 
General Chaney. But the month of March 
saw several changes in the War Depart- 
ment's plans for the token force and the 
forces in Scotland and Northern Ireland. 
These changes in effect nullified the old 
Rainbow 5 plan, and thus rendered 
Chaney's plans for area commands obso- 
lete. Early in April he was definitely noti- 
fied that aV separate air force would be 
organized and trained in the United States 
and transferred to the United Kingdom. 
General Chaney therefore had no choice 
but to accede in the matter of the organ- 
izational structure thus decided on, and 
he proceeded with arrangements for the 
location of the new command and its 
bomber, fighter, and service commands. 
On 2 May Maj. Gen. Carl Spaatz was 
designated commanding general of the 
Eighth Air Force, although he remained 
in the United States until June to organize 
his new command and arrange for the 
movement of its units overseas. 

Plans for phasing air units to the United 
Kingdom underwent frequent revisions, 



just as in the case of ground units for 
Northern Ireland and Iceland. The lack 
of enough trained units, the competing de- 
mands from other areas, the frequent 
changes in plans in the early months of 
the war, all contributed to make the fu- 
ture of the U.K. build-up unpredictable. 
In January plans called for the dispatch of 
a total of 4,748 planes to the United King- 
dom, of which 3,328 would be bombers. 
These figures were amended downward 
in the following months, and none of the 
movements of planes or personnel to Brit- 
ain were accomplished as scheduled, in 
part because of the shortage of shipping 
and in part because of a temporary sus- 
pension in the movement of planes occa- 
sioned by critical developments in the 
Pacific. The first shipment of Eighth Air 
Force troops arrived on 1 1 May. 

Early commitment of the Eighth Air 
Force units depended largely on the abil- 
ity to ferry planes to the United Kingdom 
via the North Atlantic route. The Ferry- 
ing Command (later renamed the Air 
Transport Command) had been estab- 
lished in May 1941, but the Air Forces 
had acquired little in the way of either ex- 
perience or facilities in the first year to 
prepare it for the large-scale movements 
now projected, and had relied on the Brit- 
ish both for meteorological data and for 
some of the servicing of its planes. Early in 
1942 the Ferrying Command redoubled 
its efforts to extend the network of weather 
stations and communications facilities. 
Late in June the first combat planes of the 
Eighth Air Force took off from Presque 
Isle, Maine, for Goose Bay, Labrador, and 
then proceeded to Greenland, Iceland, 
and finally Prestwick, Scotland, the east- 
ern terminus of the route. The first plane 
to reach the United Kingdom by air, a 
B-17, arrived on 1 July. Thus, the flow of 

men and planes, via water and air, was 
just beginning at the time the European 
theater was activated early in June 1942. 

Logistical preparations for the recep- 
tion and accommodation of American air 
units had been going on for many months. 
Considerable spadework had already been 
accomplished by the Special Observer 
Group, particularly by General Chaney's 
air officer, Colonel Lyon, who continued 
this work after the arrival of the advance 
detachment of the VIII Air Force Service 
Command in the spring of 1942. SPOBS 
investigated air force facilities shortly after 
its arrival in England, and in November 
1941 had presented to the British a survey 
of requirements for such facilities as air- 
fields, workshops, ammunition depots, 
bakeries, and storage. In this work SPOBS 
had the full co-operation of the Air Min- 
istry, which in February 1942 prepared a 
comprehensive statement of policy and 
procedure known as the Joint Organiza- 
tion and Maintenance (U.S.), providing 
an invaluable guide on problems involv- 
ing the reception, accommodation, and 
servicing of American air force units. 

The task of preparing for the arrival of 
American air force units naturally fell to 
General Eaker and his staff upon their ar- 
rival in the United Kingdom in February. 
A few days after his arrival General Eaker 
was instructed to proceed to the RAF 
Bomber Command in order to understudy 
its staff, to draw up plans for the recep- 
tion, administration, and supply of bom- 
bardment and service units, and to make 
recommendations regarding the training, 
equipment, tactical doctrine, and methods 
of employment of American air units. 
General Eaker and his staff immediately 
set about these tasks, establishing them- 
selves initially with the RAF Bomber 
Command, and in mid- April setting up 



their own headquarters near by at Wy- 
combe Abbey, an evacuated girls school at 
High Wycombe, about thirty miles west of 
London. On 20 March General Eaker sub- 
mitted his bomber command plan outlin- 
ing the problems that had to be solved be- 
fore American bombardment units could 
start operations. The ideal method, he ob- 
served, required a substantial build-up of 
American forces in order to permit oper- 
ations to begin at maximum efficiency 
and in order to insure their continuity. An 
independent system of supply and main- 
tenance would also have to be developed 
before operations could start. Obviously 
such preparations would delay American 
participation in the offensive effort. The 
alternative was to make immediate use of 
the eight airfields then ready, committing 
the bomber groups as they became avail- 
able and making extensive use of British 
depots, repair facilities, intelligence, and 
hospitals until the American logistical 
organization could be built up. The latter 
course would entail a heavy dependence 
on the British and a hand-to-mouth exist- 
ence in supplies, but it had the obvious 
advantage of allowing earlier inaugura- 
tion of operations and was therefore rec- 
ommended by Eaker. 

Agreement had already been reached 
with the British in December 1941 for an 
initial transfer of eight airfields, then 
under construction for the RAF, to the 
first American bomber units expected in 
England, By May 1942 plans had been 
made with the British for the construction 
or transfer of 127 fields to the Eighth Air 
Force. American participation in the air 
offensive based on the United Kingdom 
thus meant a tremendous expansion in the 
construction program in the British Isles, 
where the shortage of labor and materials 
already pinched a strained economy. 

Equal in magnitude to the airfield con- 

struction program was the problem of pro- 
viding adequate supply and maintenance. 
Here again, fortunately, valuable prelimi- 
nary measures had been taken before the 
United States became a belligerent. The 
RAF had already been flying American- 
built aircraft for some time, and the Brit- 
ish had therefore been faced with the 
problem of maintenance and repair of 
these craft, Almost simultaneously with 
the arrival of the Special Observers in 
England in the summer of 1941 a small 
number of American maintenance crews 
had gone to England to assist the British, 
and in July the British had asked that this 
aid be greatly expanded. While surveying 
Northern Ireland that month SPOBS 
looked for a suitable site where U.S. -built 
aircraft could be serviced, and in Septem- 
ber General Chaney recommended that a 
depot be established at Langford Lodge, 
several miles west of Belfast. This recom- 
mendation was endorsed by a special Air 
Forces mission under Maj. Gen. George 
H. Brett which had been sent to the 
United Kingdom to study the whole prob- 
lem. In December 1941 the Lockheed 
Aircraft Corporation, already operating 
an assembly plant for the British near 
Liverpool, was requested to install a serv- 
ice maintenance base at Langford Lodge. 
The depot was to be manned by American 
civilians. While the War Department did 
not sign a contract with the Lockheed 
Overseas Coporation until May 1942, 
Lockheed representatives began to make 
detailed plans for the base in December 
1941, and General Chaney prbceeded to 
negotiate with the British Air Ministry on 
the provision of buildings, utilities, hous- 
ing, and other facilities. 

Concurrent with the/negotiations over 
Langford Lodge, SPOBS had taken steps 
to establish a second depot for the repair 
of American-operated aircraft at Warton, 



about twenty-five miles north of Liver- 
pool. Both the SPOBS engineer, Colonel 
Davison, and General Brett agreed on this 
selection in the fall of 1941. Early in Jan- 
uary 1942 the War Department therefore 
authorized General Chaney to secure this 
location for the repair of bombers and en- 
gines, and he proceeded to arrange with 
the Ministry of Aircraft Production to 
build the depot and provide accommoda- 
tions for about 4,000 men. 

Since Langford Lodge was not to open 
until September 1942, and Warton not 
until January 1943, it was necessary to 
find some interim facilities to meet the 
needs of American air units if their partici- 
pation in operations was not to be delayed. 
A search was therefore made for existing 
facilities which could be utilized immedi- 
ately. Late in April, after inspections by 
General Eaker and Colonel Lyon, Gen- 
eral Chaney made his recommendations 
to the War Department and was author- 
ized to negotiate with the British for the 
transfer of the repair facilities already 
existing at Burtonwood, about midway 
between Liverpool and Manchester. Bur- 
tonwood was then operated by the British 
Government and employed about 4,000 
civilians. After a period of joint operation, 
Burtonwood was to be transferred to the 
exclusive control of the Americans. In the 
absence of enough skilled American mili- 
tary technicians, both Langford Lodge 
and Burtonwood were to be staffed ini- 
tially with civilians, although it was in- 
tended that they would eventually be 
operated by military personnel. General 
Arnold arranged for the transfer of soldiers 
with the requisite training from Army Air 
Forces depots in the United States. Ar- 
rangements for acquisition of the Burton- 
wood installation were completed in May, 
and joint operation of the facilities began 
in June. Because of the delay in bringing 

Langford Lodge and Warton into opera- 
tion, Burtonwood carried the main burden 
of air force maintenance for several 
months to come, and in fact was to remain 
the principal center of American air force 
supply and maintenance in the United 

On 19 May the Headquarters Detach- 
ment, Eighth Air Force, under General 
Eaker, assumed command of all American 
air units in the United Kindom, and 
General Spaatz took command of the 
Eighth Air Force on 18 June, with head- 
quarters at Bushy Park, on the southwest 
edge of London. By this date important 
steps had been taken to prepare for direct 
participation by American air units in the 
war against the Axis Powers. Even at this 
time, however, the build-up of American 
forces was only beginning, and their logis- 
tical organization was hardly born. What- 
ever influence the American air forces 
were to have on the air offensive develop- 
ing in these first months was due largely 
to British assistance. 

(5 ) The Formation of the Services of Supply 
and the Activation of ETOUSA 

By the early spring of 1942 the existing 
U.S. Army organization in the United 
Kingdom was no longer equal to the tasks 
it was called on to perform. One deficiency 
which had been felt from the very begin- 
ning was the lack of personnel, and Gen- 
eral Chaney's small staff had been asked 
to shoulder an increasing number of re- 
sponsibilities. In addition to its other duties 
it handled the technical aspects of lend- 
lease to both Britain and the USSR; it 
supervised the Electronics Training Group, 
a group of American signal, air, and anti- 
aircraft officers sent to England for train- 
ing in radar maintenance and operation; 
and it operated the Ferrying Command. 



Each new task undertaken by SPOBS 
required additional manpower and in- 
spired repeated requests to the War De- 
partment. With the shipment of troops to 
Northern Ireland early in 1942 an ob- 
vious need arose for personnel to make up 
an administrative headquarters for these 
troops, and for trained officers to fill the 
staff positions General Chaney wished to 
fill. In mid-January there still were only 
twenty-four officers and thirteen enlisted 
men in London, although SPOBS had 
been transformed into the headquarters of 
the U.S. Army in the United Kingdom. 
This small group was temporarily rein- 
forced in March when about 260 men — 
military police, signal men, and house- 
keeping personnel — were borrowed from 
the 34th Division in Northern Ireland to 
begin the organization of a headquarters 
command. But there was no augmentation 
of Chaney's staff from the United States 
until the first week in April, when six 
officers arrived. 15 In February a bomber 
command had been activated, forming the 
advance echelon of an over-all air force 
command in the United Kingdom. But 
these organizations could hardly do more 
than meet the requirements envisaged in 
the ABC-1 and Rainbow 5 concepts — 
that is, aid in the defense of Northern Ire- 
land and participate in the air offensive 
against the Continent. 

In March General Marshall gave the 
first hint that a much larger role was con- 
templated for American forces in the 
European area when he instructed Gen- 
eral Chaney to formulate plans which 
would permit a large expansion of both air 
and ground units in the United King- 
dom. 16 In April strategic decisions were 
made which had far-reaching effects on 
the U.S. Army organization in Britain. 
The next few months saw the activation of 

not only a theater of operations, with a 
specific directive to its commander on his 
mission and responsibilities, but also a 
Services of Supply, providing the vitally 
important machinery to handle the sup- 
ply and troop build-up in the British Isles. 

American and British military leaders 
had met for the second time in Washington 
in December 1941 and January 1942 to 
define more specifically the combined 
command arrangements, organize an 
over-all command agency (the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff), and confirm existing 
agreements on the priority for the defeat 
of the European Axis and agreements re- 
garding the shipment of American forces 
to the United Kingdom. Plans for the con- 
duct of the war were of course under con- 
tinuous study in the War Department dur- 
ing the winter months, and in March 1942 
the Operations Division (OPD, formerly 
WPD or War Plans Division) produced an 
outline plan for the build-up of American 
forces in the United Kingdom with a view 
toward an eventual invasion of the Conti- 
nent. In April General Marshall and 
Harry L. Hopkins, confidential adviser to 
the President, accompanied by other 
officials, went to London to meet with 
Prime Minister Churchill and the British 
Chiefs of Staff. In a series of conferences at 
Claridge's Hotel the Americans won ac- 
ceptance of the War Department proposal, 
which came to be known as the Bolero 

The acceptance of the Bolero plan, 
involving as it did a great build-up of 
American forces in Britain and an even- 

1S Memo, Chaney for Hist Div, 23 Jul 46, sub: 
Comments on MS The Predecessor Commands, and 
Memo, Dahlquist for Bolte, 22 Apr 46, OCMH. 

IfJ Ltr, Marshall to Chaney, 18 Mar 42, sub: U.S. 
Army Forces in British Isles, ETO AG 381 War 
Plans — General. 



tual cross-Channel operation, was bound 
to have a tremendous effect on the de- 
velopment of the U.S. Army in the United 
Kingdom. The first step that reflected the 
enhanced importance of American activi- 
ties in the British Isles and presaged the 
scope of coming preparations was the 
formation of the Services of Supply (SOS), 
the third of the great subcommands which 
were basic to the theater's structure. Gen- 
eral Chaney himself took the initiative in 
this matter and on 2 May 1942 outlined to 
the War Department his ideas on the or- 
ganization of the SOS and requested the 
necessary personnel. Chaney's plan 
roughly followed outlines given in the 
Field Service Regulations, which were 
based on World War I experience. It pro- 
vided for five service divisions: depots, 
transportation, replacement and evacua- 
tion, construction, and administration. 
Chaney named Donald Davison, now a 
brigadier general, as his choice to com- 
mand the SOS. 17 

Although General Marshall had dis- 
cussed the matter of the U.K. build-up 
with Chaney during his trip to London in 
April, it is not clear that he had outlined 
the organizational structure he desired. 
At any rate General Chaney soon learned 
that his proposed organization of the SOS 
did not conform with War Department 
wishes. General Marshall informed him 
that the nucleus of the new SOS organiza- 
tion was being formed in Washington 
under Maj. Gen. John C. H. Lee, and that 
Chaney's request for personnel would 
have to await Lee's arrival in England. 
Anticipating an early build-up of troops, 
Chaney was anxious to have the SOS 
operating without delay, and he therefore 
went ahead with plans and even drafted 
an order outlining the functions and or- 
ganization of the SOS. But General 

Marshall's decision was final; General Lee 
was to organize the SOS in the United 
Kingdom. Thus, as in the matter of the 
air force command, the War Department 
now also determined the organization of 
the SOS and was to dispatch it to England 
with little regard for General Chaney's 
wishes in the matter. 

The history of the logistics of the war in 
Europe, so far as U.S. participation is con- 
cerned, is basically the history of the SOS 
and its successor on the Continent, the 
Communications Zone; and the logistical 
story is therefore inseparably associated 
with the officer who in May 1942 was 
designated by General Marshall to com- 
mand the SOS. General Lee was com- 
manding the 2d Division at Fort Sam 
Houston, Texas, when on 3 May Lt. Gen. 
Brehon B. Somervell, commanding gen- 
eral of the War Department SOS, sum- 
moned him to Washington for the new 
assignment. General Lee was a Regular 
Army officer, a West Point graduate of 
1909, and, like so many of the officers who 
were to hold key positions in the European 
theater, an engineer. Between 1909 and 
1917 his assignments included tours of 
duty in the Canal Zone, Guam, and the 
Philippines, as well as the zone of interior. 
During World War I he served first as aide 
to Maj. Gen. Leonard Wood, command- 
ing general of the 89th Division and 
former Army Chief of Staff, and then as 
chief of staff of the 89th Division, later 
going overseas and actively participating 
in the planning and execution of the 
St. Mihiel and Meuse-Argonne offensive. 
In the course of his overseas duty he was 
awarded the Silver Star, the Distinguished 
Service Medal, and was twice decorated 

17 Except as indicated, this discussion of command 
and organization is based on the monograph Organi- 
zation and Command in the ETO, I, 20-70. 

GENERAL LEE, Commanding General, SOS, ETOUSA. 



by the French Government. During most 
of the period between wars Lee held the 
usual peacetime engineer assignments, 
principally on rivers and harbors projects. 
In 1934 he became district engineer of the 
North Atlantic Division at Philadelphia, 
and in 1938 division engineer of the North 
Pacific Division at Portland, Oregon. In 
1940 Lee was given command of the San 
Francisco Port of Embarkation and pro- 
moted to brigadier general; a year later he 
took command of the 2d Division; and in 
1942 he was again promoted. 18 

The choice of General Marshall and 
General Somervell thus brought to the job 
a man of varied experience and an officer 
with a reputation as an able organizer and 
strict disciplinarian. It also brought to the 
job a controversial personality, for about 
Lee and his position most of the contro- 
versies over theater organization and com- 
mand were to rage for the next three years. 

Lee arrived in Washington on 5 May 
and in a series of conferences in the next 
two weeks laid the basis for the SOS or- 
ganization in the United Kingdom. On 7 
May General Somervell held a meeting of 
all the service chiefs and chiefs of staff di- 
visions in the War Department SOS to 
outline the Bolero plan and point up the 
major problems which would have to be 
met in building a base in the United King- 
dom. Lee's primary concern was the selec- 
tion of a "team" which he could take with 
him to England. To recruit such a staff 
General Somervell instructed each chief 
in the SOS to recommend the best two 
men in his branch, one of whom would be 
selected to accompany General Lee, the 
other to remain in Washington. A staff was 
selected within the next week. Among 
those chosen were many officers who were 
to become well known in the European 
theater, including Brig. Gen. Thomas B. 

Larkin, Lee's first chief of staff; Brig. Gen. 
Claude N. Thiele, initially his Chief of 
Administrative Services; Col. Charles O. 
Thrasher, Chief of Depot Services; Col. 
Douglas C. MacKeachie, Director of Pro- 
curement; Col. Frank S. Ross, Chief of 
Transportation Services; Maj. James M. 
Franey, Administrative Assistant; Col. 
Nicholas H. Cobbs, Finance Officer; Brig. 
Gen. William S. Rumbough, Signal Offi- 
cer; and Brig. Gen. Robert M. Littlejohn, 
Chief Quartermaster. On 14 May Gen- 
eral Lee held the first meeting of his serv- 
ice chiefs, at which he read the draft of a 
directive indicating the lines along which 
General Marshall and General Somervell 
desired to have the SOS organized. Before 
leaving Washington General Lee also met 
with members of the British Army staff 
and the British Ambassador, Lord Hali- 
fax, to orient himself on reception and ac- 
commodation problems in the United 
Kingdom. Just before his departure from 
the United States he flew to New York 
and discussed shipping matters with Maj. 
Gen. Homer M. Groninger, commanding 
general of the port which was to handle 
the millions of tons of supplies shipped to 
Europe in the next few years. Finally, 
acutely aware of the difficulties faced by 
the SOS in 1917-18, General Lee also 
called on Maj. Gen. James G. Harbord, 
commanding general of the American Ex- 
peditionary Forces SOS in World War I, 
hoping to profit from his experience and 
thus avoid a repetition of the errors of that 
period. On 23 May 1942 General Lee left 
the United States with nine members of 
his staff and with basic plans for the or- 
ganization of the SOS in England. 19 

18 Biographies of General Officers, OCMH. 

19 Tendons of an Army, prep by Hist Sec, ETO, 
1944, MS, pp. 9-10, ETO Adm 531. 



Meanwhile General Ghaney had been 
informed more specifically of the plans 
which the Chief of Staff desired to have 
carried out in the United Kingdom. On 
14 May General Marshall sent a letter di- 
rective to the USAFBI commander em- 
bodying the ideas already communicated 
to General Lee in Washington. The direc- 
tive made it clear that the U.S. forces in 
the United Kingdom were to be organized 
along lines parallel to the new War De- 
partment structure — that is, with three 
co-ordinate commands, one each for air, 
ground, and services — and described in 
detail the Chief of Staffs desires on the or- 
ganization of the SOS, which was to be 
undertaken at once. General Marshall 
specified that Chaney's headquarters 
(soon to become the theater headquarters) 
was to be organized "along the general 
pattern of a command post with a mini- 
mum of supply and administrative serv- 
ices." These were to be grouped under the 
SOS and commanded by General Lee. 
More specifically, General Lee was given 
the following powers: 

[He was] invested with all authority neces- 
sary to accomplish his mission including, but 
not limited to, authority to approve or dele- 
gate authority to: 

a. Approve all plans and contracts of all 
kinds necessary to carry out the objectives of 
this directive. 

b. Employ, fix the compensation of, and 
discharge civilian personnel without regard 
to civil service rules. 

c. Purchase any necessary supplies, equip- 
ment, and property, including rights in real 
estate practicable of acquirement. 

d. Adjudicate and settle all claims. 

e. Take all measures regarded as necessary 
and appropriate to expedite and prosecute 
the procurement, reception, processing, for- 
warding, and delivery of personnel, equip- 
ment, and supplies for the conduct of mili- 
tary operations. 20 

The letter announced that while "the or- 
ganization prescribed for the War Depart- 
ment need not be slavishly followed at 
your Headquarters, it will, in the main, 
be the pattern for similar organizations of 
the Services of Supply in the British Isles." 

The directive of 14 May thus assigned 
broad powers to the SOS, and for this 
reason it developed into one of the most 
controversial documents in the history of 
the theater. It undoubtedly bore the 
strong influence of General Somervell, 
who was acutely conscious of the difficul- 
ties experienced by the SOS in World War 
I. These he attributed in part to the fact 
that the SOS of the American Expedition- 
ary Forces had had to adopt an organiza- 
tion which did not parallel that of the War 
Department, with the result that there 
were no clearly defined command and 
technical channels between the two, and 
in part to the poor organizational control 
of the SOS, whereby supply and adminis- 
tration were closely controlled from Gen- 
eral Pershing's GHQ, through which all 
communications with the War Depart- 
ment were routed.- 1 He now desired that 
the SOS in the theater parallel that of the 
zone of interior, in which the supply com- 
mand had just been assigned broad pow- 
ers. But the attempt to limit the top U.S. 
headquarters to a minimum of adminis- 
trative and supply functions and to assign 
them to the SOS was the cause of a long 
struggle between the SOS and the theater 
headquarters and the basic reason for the 
several reorganizations which the two 
headquarters underwent in the next 
two years. 

20 Ltr, Marshall to GG USAFBI, 14 May 42, sub: 
Organization SOS, ETO Adm 31 1A SOS— General. 

21 Memo, Somervell for Maj Gen Dwight D. 
Eisenhower, 22 Jun 42, ETO Adm 129 ETO Organ- 
ization and Gomd. 



It is hardly surprising that General 
Chaney and his staff should have taken 
issue with the proposed scheme of organ- 
ization, for it appeared to go contrary to 
the doctrine in which they had been 
schooled between the two wars. They were 
poorly oriented on the entire concept 
under which the War Department had re- 
cently reorganized itself, creating three 
great subcommands for air, ground, and 
service forces. 22 It is apparent that Gen- 
eral Chaney and his staffhad not taken 
the new organization into consideration in 
formulating their own plan. The USAFBI 
commander did not believe that a purely 
functional division of command was feasi- 
ble, but in this matter he had already 
been overruled and had been forced to ac- 
quiesce by accepting the separate air com- 
mand. Now he was to take issue with the 
Services of Supply aspect of the new or- 
ganizational scheme as well. 

General Lee and his party arrived in 
London on 24 May. In his diary for this 
day he made the terse entry: "Reported 
to 20 Grosvenor, offices assigned, program 
of initiating the SOS commenced." 23 On 
the same day General Ghaney's head- 
quarters published General Order 17, 
establishing the SOS, USAFBI, and desig- 
nating General Lee as its commanding 

Activating the new command was a 
simple matter. Outlining its functions and 
defining its exact sphere of responsibilities 
proved more difficult. General Lee and 
his chief of staff, General Larkin, con- 
ferred with General Chaney on the prob- 
lem the day after their arrival in England, 
and on 28 May Lee submitted a draft of a 
general order outlining the functions and 
responsibilities of the SOS. The proposed 
order placed all supply arms and services, 
"excepting so much thereof as are essen- 

tial to the minimum operation of supply 
and administration" by Headquarters, 
USAFBI, under the SOS. General Lee be- 
lieved that virtually all supply and ad- 
ministrative functions of the theater should 
be taken over by the SOS. Such, he 
thought, was the intention of General 
Marshall and General Somervell, and in 
submitting his plan he stated that he was 
endeavoring "to comply with the spirit of 
the instructions contained in the War De- 
partment letter of 14 May 1942. 24 

General Lee's proposal produced a 
strong reaction in the USAFBI headquar- 
ters. General Chaney's staff objected to it 
almost to a man, and a compromise was 
eventually reached which satisfied no one. 
All staff sections were given an opportu- 
nity to comment on General Lee's draft, 
and their remarks brought into focus some 
of the key issues that were to plague the 
SOS in its relations with the theater head- 
quarters and eventually were to involve 
the armies and the supreme command 
also. Some of the USAFBI staff took ex- 
ception to the entire functional organiza- 
tion of the U.S. forces in the United King- 
dom into three co-ordinate commands. 
But this was already a lost battle since the 
basic organizational structure was already 
determined by the creation of the ground, 

22 For the background of this reorganization see 
John D. Millett, The Organization and Role of the 
Army Service Forces, a volume in preparation for this 

2:1 Lee Diary, ETO Adm 102. 

24 Ltr, Lee to Chaney, 28 May 42, sub: Order 
Creating SOS, with draft GO, ETO Adm 311A 
SOS — General. The arms and services listed for 
changeover to SOS by Lee included the Corps of En- 
gineers, Signal Corps, Chemical Warfare Service, 
Ordnance Department, Quartermaster Corps, Med- 
ical Department, and the Offices of the Adjutant Gen- 
eral, the Chief Chaplain, the Inspector General, the 
Chief of Finance, the Judge Advocate General, the 
Provost Marshal, Special Troops, Special Services, 
and the Army Exchange Service. 



air, and service commands. More unani- 
mous was the chorus of opposition voiced 
against the assumption of theater-wide 
functions by a subordinate command, the 
SOS. Almost every reply developed some 
aspect of this fundamental objection and 
argued that more control over particular 
functions should be retained by the high- 
est command, USAFBI. 

Brig. Gen. John E. Dahlquist, the G-l, 
put his finger on the basic difficulty by 
pointing out that, while the SOS would 
procure all supplies for U.S. forces in the 
United Kingdom, it would not provide all 
the services and supplies in all the com- 
ponents of the command, since many 
would be provided by service elements 
which were integral parts of the various 
task forces or subcommands, such as the 
Eighth Air Force. The inspector general, 
the chief finance officer, the adjutant gen- 
eral, and others, he noted, could not exer- 
cise theater-wide functions from the SOS, 
which was a command co-ordinate with 
the air and ground commands. Most of 
the supply arms and services would have 
to be maintained on a theater level (that 
is, at USAFBI level), and the top com- 
mander of the U.S. forces would need his 
own special staff. Since a chief of service in 
the SOS, a command co-ordinate with the 
air and ground commands and subordi- 
nate to USAFBI, could not exercise super- 
vision over the troops of other commands, 
it was definitely wrong, Dahlquist be- 
lieved, to place a theater chief of service in 
the SOS. 25 

Other staff members generally sup- 
ported this argument, citing specific ex- 
amples that stressed the impracticability 
of the proposed assignment of functions as 
applied to their particular service or de- 
partment. Some were willing to see their 
functions split between USAFBI and SOS, 

but almost all of them felt that over-all 
policy making and varying degrees of con- 
trol over service functions would have to 
be retained by the higher headquarters. 
The G-4, General Griner, for example, 
asked how the inspector general could 
perform theater-wide functions for the 
commanding general if he were placed 
under the commander of the SOS. As 
later developments were to show, many of 
these arguments were not altogether in- 
valid, and the armies and the air forces 
were to object strongly to the exercise of 
theater-wide functions by the SOS. 

General Lee's proposal had already 
raised the problem of the extent to which 
the air forces should handle their own sup- 
plies. In the successive steps by which the 
Army Air Forces was achieving more and 
more autonomy, the War Department had 
acknowledged the peculiarities of air force 
supply and had established a separate Air 
Force Service Command for the Air 
Forces. This principle was extended to the 
theaters in early 1942, and an Air Service 
Command had been set up as part of the 
Eighth Air Force and was in the process of 
movement to the United Kingdom in 
May and June. Before leaving the United 
States General Lee had met with AAF of- 
ficials at Boiling Field and had agreed to 
a division of supply functions between the 
SOS and the Air Service Command. The 
main provisions were that the Air Service 
Command would assume complete re- 
sponsibility for supplies peculiar to the air 
forces, would place liaison officers at the 
ports to attend to their interests, and 
would leave to the SOS all construction 

25 Memo, Dahlquist for Cof$ USAFBI, 1 Jun 42, 
sub: Comments on Draft Order Establishing SOS, 
ETO Adm 31 1A SOS — General. The memorandums 
from the other staff sections on this subject are also in 
this file. 



and the handling of supplies common to 
both ground and air forces. In his draft 
proposal of 28 May outlining the respon- 
sibility of the SOS the only mention made 
of this problem was the statement that the 
handling of supplies peculiar to the air 
forces would be excepted from SOS con- 
trol. Brig. Gen. Alfred J. Lyon, the 
USAFBI air officer, pointed out that it was 
the practice of the Air Service Command 
to maintain control not only of supplies 
peculiar to the air forces, but also of cer- 
tain services (such as aviation engineer 
construction), and he desired a change in 
the draft to clarify this point. 

The controversy over the position and 
functions of the SOS was not to come to a 
decision under USAFBI. The whole dis- 
cussion was interrupted in the first week 
of June and momentarily postponed. On 8 
June USAFBI was officially transformed 
into the European Theater of Operations, 
United States Army. The need for such a 
transformation had been realized for some 
time, particularly in General Chaney's 
headquarters. Strategic plans for the em- 
ployment of American forces in the Euro- 
pean area had been radically altered since 
USAFBI had been created early in Jan- 
uary. The Bolero plan agreed to in April 
contemplated an invasion of the Conti- 
nent in 1943, and therefore involved the 
shipment of large numbers of troops and 
great quantities of supplies to the United 
Kingdom. USAFBI had not been created 
with Bolero in mind, and General 
Chaney keenly felt the lack of a specific 
statement of his mission and powers. The 
initiative in obtaining such a directive 
finally came from Chaney's own staff. In 
the course of the Claridge Conference in 
April General Dahlquist asked General 
Marshall for a directive, at the same time 
submitting a draft to Col. John E. Hull, 

an officer from the Operations Division of 
the War Department. The following 
month Maj. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, 
then chief of OPD, visited the United 
Kingdom, and Brig. Gen. Charles L. 
Bolte, Chaney's chief of staff, took the op- 
portunity to outline some of the problems 
of USAFBI, again urging the "definite 
need for a basic directive to the Com- 
manding General USAFBI, concerning 
his authority, responsibility and mis- 
sion." 26 General Eisenhower responded 
by presenting a draft directive to General 
Marshall shortly after his return to the 
United States, and on 8 June the War De- 
partment cabled the directive establishing 
ETOUSA, naming Chaney its com- 
mander and outlining his powers and re- 
sponsibilities. It was patterned closely 
after the draft presented by General Dahl- 
quist, who in turn had based his draft 
largely on the one given General Pershing 
in World War I. 27 

The directive charged the Command- 
ing General, European Theater of Oper- 
ations, with the "tactical, strategical, 
territorial, and administrative duties of a 
theatre Commander." "Under the prin- 
ciple of unity of command" he was to 
exercise planning and operational control 
over all U.S. forces assigned to the theater, 
including naval. The War Department 
instructed General Chaney to "co-operate 
with the forces of the British Empire and 
other allied nations" in military opera- 
tions against the Axis Powers, but specified 
that in doing so the American forces were 
to "be maintained as a distinct and sep- 
arate component of the combined forces." 
The theater commander was vested with 

2H Memo, Bolte for Eisenhower, 29 May 42, as cited 
in Organization and Command, I, 46. 

27 Interv with Dahlquist, 16 Jul 45, ETO Adm 517 



all authority over administrative or logis- 
tical matters previously assigned to the 
Commanding General, USAFBI, and was 
directed to establish "all necessary bases, 
depots, lines of communications, and other 
arrangements necessary in the operation, 
training, administration, maintenance 
and reception of the U.S. Army Forces." 
Finally, the directive gave as the mission 
of the Commanding General, European 
Theater of Operations, "to prepare for 
and carry on military operations in the 
European Theater against the Axis Pow- 
ers and their allies, under strategical di- 
rectives of the combined U.S. -British 
Chiefs of Staff. . . ." 28 

A separate cable on 16 June defined the 
territorial extent of the newly activated 
theater. The boundaries of the European 
Theater of Operations (ETO) included 
roughly all of western Europe. \(Map 1)] 
Iceland was now also under the theater's 
jurisdiction, although the separate Ice- 
land Base Command dealing directly with 
the War Department would continue to 
handle administrative and logistical 

Outwardly the transition from USAFBI 
to ETOUSA was a change in name only. 
The War Department directive activating 
a theater of operations did not change 
General Chaney's duties greatly. But it 
did constitute a statement of his mission 
and authority, which he had lacked as 
commanding general of USAFBI, and 
thus gave him a clear-cut conception of 
his command and clarified his position 
with relation to the other commands in 
the United Kingdom. Chaney's general 
staff remained unchanged. General Bolte 
was the chief of staff, General Dahlquist 
was G-l and now also deputy chief of 
staff, Colonel Case was G™2, Brig. Gen. 
Harold M. McClelland the G-3, and 

Brig. Gen. George W. Griner the G-4. 
Col. Ray W. Barker had been appointed 
Assistant Chief of Staff for War Plans early 
in April. 

Assignments to the special staff, on the 
other hand, were to reflect the initial solu- 
tion to the thorny organizational contro- 
versy about the extent of control that the 
SOS was to exert over supply and admin- 
istration. The activation of ETOUSA had 
not seriously interrupted the search for a 
satisfactory answer to this problem, and a 
compromise solution had in fact been 
reached by 8 June. The dilemma faced by 
General Chaney and his staff was to find a 
solution which would preserve for the the- 
ater headquarters the control of theater- 
wide services without violating the Mar- 
shall directive of 14 May. In his memo to 
General Eisenhower in May, General 
Bolte had alluded to the problem of the 
relationship between SOS and USAFBI 
and had noted that, "unless the basic 
principle that authority and responsibility 
must go hand in hand is to be abandoned, 
the commander of the force as a whole 
must have the freedom of action to organ- 
ize, dispose, and employ the personnel and 
means provided by him under the broad 
mission assigned him by higher author- 
ity." 29 The War Department directive 
which followed on 8 June certainly 
granted the theater commander broad 
enough powers and left no doubt of Gen- 
eral Chaney's authority over all U.S. 
forces in the theater. But it had not specif- 
ically released him from previous instruc- 
tions, and the directive of 14 May there- 
fore still held. 

An unidentified member of the USAFBI 
staff in the meantime had recommended 

Gbl 1 1 20", AG WAR to USFOR London, 8 Jim 
42, ETO Adm 129 ETO Organization and Comd. 
29 Memo, Bolte for Eisenhower, 29 May 42. 



a division of staff functions, with the senior 
officer of most of the services assigned to 
the SOS and only a portion of the special 
staff remaining at General Chaney's head- 
quarters. But on 8 June, when the theater 
was activated, a general order announced 
a complete special staff at theater head- 
quarters, made up of the senior officers in 
the various services, and therefore in- 
cluded many of the officers who had been 
chosen for General Lee's organization. 
Among them were General Littlejohn, 
Chief Quartermaster, Col. Everett S. 

Hughes, Chief Ordnance Officer, General 
Rumbough, Chief Signal Officer, and 
Colonel Cobbs, Finance Officer. An at- 
tempt to clarify the entire matter was 
made in a circular, dated 13 June, outlin- 
ing in detail the responsibilities of the SOS 
and the division of the special staff. It 
charged the Commanding General, SOS, 
with the "formulating of detailed plans for 
supply, transportation, and administra- 
tion, and with the operation of all supply 
and administrative services which serve 
this theater as a whole and which are not 



a part of other subordinate forces of the 
theater. . . ." More specifically, these re- 
sponsibilities included: 

a. Receipt and delivery to depots of all 
supplies from the zone of the interior or from 
local or foreign sources. 

b. Procurement, storage, maintenance, sal- 
vage, and basic issues of all equipment and 
supplies, except certain items peculiar to the 
Air Force. 

c. The establishment of purchasing and 
contractual policies and procedure. 

d. Control of all transportation and traffic 
pertaining to the theater except that under 
control of other commands. 

e. Construction. 

f. Quartering, to include acquiring by such 
means as may be necessary accommodations 
and facilities for all forces and activities. 

g. Operation of all elements of the Army 
Postal Service except those assigned to other 

h. The establishment and maintenance of 
a Central Records Office for all army ele- 
ments of the theater, including establishment 
and operation of a Prisoner of War Informa- 
tion Bureau. 

i. The acquirement or production and is- 
sue of all publications, training films, film 
strips, and blank forms. 

j. Operation of Graves Registration Serv- 

k. The requisitioning, quartering, training, 
and distribution under directives and policies 
prescribed by this headquarters of all re- 
placements except the operation of Air Force 
combat and ground crew replacement center. 

1. The establishment and control of all dis- 
ciplinary barracks, and military police con- 
trol of all members of the theater, outside 
other commands. 

m. The establishment and operation of 
such training centers and officer candidate 
schools as may be directed by this headquar- 

n. The operation of centers for reclassifica- 
tion of officers to include administration of 
reclassification boards, appointed by the 
theater commander. 

o. Evacuation from other commands of 
prisoner of war and administration and con- 

trol of all prisoner of war establishments, ex- 
cept those pertaining to other commands. 

p. Evacuation and hospitalization of sick 
and wounded from other commands. 

q. Preparation of estimates of funds re- 
quired for operation of the theater. 

r. Adjudication and settlement of all claims 
and administration of the United States 
Claims Commission for this theater. 

s. Organization and operation of recrea- 
tional facilities. 

t. Promotion of sale of war bonds and 

The circular named eleven theater spe- 
cial staff sections to "operate under the 
CG SOS." They included the big supply 
services, but these were to maintain sep- 
arate liaison sections at theater headquar- 
ters. The SOS commander was granted all 
the necessary powers "authorized by law, 
Army Regulations, and customs for a 
Corps Area Commander" in the United 
States; he was allowed direct communica- 
tion with other commanders in all supply 
and administrative matters; and he was 
authorized to organize the SOS into what- 
ever subordinate commands he saw fit. 
Beyond this the circular was carefully 
worded to meet the provisions of the Mar- 
shall directive of 14 May and at the same 
time retain control of theater-wide func- 
tions for the theater's highest headquar- 
ters. It cautiously spelled out General 
Lee's authority. In an attempt to subordi- 
nate SOS policy making to the control of 
theater headquarters, for example, it pre- 
scribed that the SOS would carry out its 
functions "under directives issued by the 
Theater Commander," and that all meas- 
ures taken would be "consistent with poli- 
cies and directives of this headquarters" 
(ETOUSA). The authorization to com- 
municate directly with subordinate ele- 
ments and officers and agencies of the U.S. 
and British Governments was restricted to 
matters "which do not involve items of 



major policy, which do not affect other 
commands of the theater, or which do not 
affect matters specifically reserved by the 
theater commander." It empowered the 
Commanding General, SOS, to "issue to 
other force commanders instructions on 
routine administrative matters arising di- 
rectly from his duties and responsibilities," 
but in order to make certain that the SOS 
did not exercise an improper amount of 
authority over other co-ordinate com- 
mands (the Eighth Air Force and V 
Corps) the circular stipulated that such 
instructions were not to interfere with "in- 
herent command responsibilities of other 
force commanders." 30 

The circular was therefore guarded in 
its grant of authority to the SOS and was 
not as broad a concession as General Lee 
desired, although it gave him control of 
eleven of the fifteen special staff sections 
he had requested. In meeting some of the 
objections of Chaney's staff it consequently 
represented a compromise with the con- 
cept contained in the Marshall directive. 
The solution was anything but final, for 
the division of responsibility 1 and the split 
in the staffs between SOS and ETOUSA 
produced a long controversy and resulted 
in many attempts at reorganization. 

The first alterations in the settlement 
were made within a month, occasioned by 
a change in the top American command. 
General Chaney served as commanding 
general of the newly activated ETOUSA 
less than two weeks. The man chosen to 
succeed him was General Eisenhower, 
chief of OPD. Since General Marshall's 
trip to England in April, the Chief of Staff 
had not been satisfied that the USAFBI 
commander and his staff were familiar 
enough with the War Department's plans 
for the theater. A successor had not yet 
been chosen when General Eisenhower 

made his inspection trip to the United 
Kingdom in May, and upon his return at 
the end of the month his suggestion of 
General McNarney for the command was 
rejected by the Chief of Staff, who already 
had another important assignment in 
mind for that officer. Early in June Gen- 
eral Eisenhower submitted to General 
Marshall the draft directive for the estab- 
lishment of ETOUSA and was told for the 
first time that he himself might be chosen 
as the new commander of the theater. On 
1 1 June Eisenhower was told definitely 
that he had been chosen, and on the 17th 
he received orders relieving him from his 
duties in the War Department and assign- 
ing him as Commanding General, 

General Chaney meanwhile was noti- 
fied on 1 1 June of his impending relief, 
and he departed from the United King- 
dom on the 20th. 32 In the three-day 
interim after General Chaney's departure 
the theater was commanded by General 
Hartle, the senior American officer in the 
United Kingdom. General Eisenhower 
assumed command upon his arrival on 24 

One of the new theater commander's 
first tasks was to re-examine the confused 
organizational structure which had just 
come into existence. While he considered 
the division of functions and staff between 
SOS and ETOUSA as faulty, General 
Eisenhower was not immediately disposed 
to make radical changes. For the most 
part he therefore accepted the compromise 

;t( > Cir 2, Hq ETO, 13 Jun 42, CofS A45-466 
Codes— USAFBI. 

;u Dwight D. Eisenhower, Crusade in Europe (Garden 
City, N. Y., 1948), pp. 49-50. 

;i2 Cbl 2543, Marshall to Chaney, 1 1 Jun 42, OPD 
Exec 10, Folder 33. The reasons for Chaney's relief 
are more fully discussed in the following section of this 



outlined in Circular 2, although certain 
modifications were made in the interest of 
clarity. Others were necessitated by an en- 
tirely new factor that complicated the 
whole situation — the proposed move of 
the SOS to Cheltenham, which was some 
distance from London. A complete restate- 
ment of the responsibilities of the SOS and 
its position vis-a-vis ETOUSA was the 
result, and was published as General 
Order 19, dated 20 July 1942. 

General Order 19 made only one im- 
portant change in the mission of the SOS. 
General Lee now was assigned the addi- 
tional function of administrative and 
supply planning for operations in the 
theater. He also was authorized to com- 
municate directly with the War Depart- 
ment and British officials on supply 
matters without reference to theater head- 
quarters. Otherwise, his responsibilities 
remained the same. 

Like Circular 2, the new order was care- 
ful to define and delimit the authority of 
the Commanding General, SOS. His 
authority as a corps area commander was 
restricted in that it was not to apply to 
areas where another commander had 
already been given such authority (for ex- 
ample, military police control in North- 
ern Ireland), and all orders, policies, and 
instructions prepared by the chiefs of 
services and applying to the entire theater 
were to be submitted to the Commanding 
General, SOS, and, after approval, pub- 
lished by the Adjutant General, ETOUSA. 

The order announced eighteen staff sec- 
tions, eight of which were to be resident at 
theater headquarters. |f Chart 1 J| The chiefs 
of services were to be located as directed 
by the SOS commander. If not located at 
theater headquarters, they were to have 
senior representatives there selected by 
the theater commander. At this time a 

separate Transportation Service was added 
to the usual services. Previously divided 
between the Corps of Engineers and the 
Quartermaster Corps, transportation serv- 
ices were from this time on to be organized 
as a separate corps, as recommended by 
General Somervell. It was to have a vital 
role in the logistical operations in the 
European war, and ably justified its claim 
to separate status as a service. 

General Order 19 did not alter the posi- 
tion of the SOS fundamentally. It did not 
give the SOS any additional theater-wide 
control over supply and administrative 
functions and therefore did not enhance 
its position. In fact General Order 19 ac- 
tually reduced the number of staff sections 
directly under its control and resident at 
Headquarters, SOS. The retention of more 
of the staff sections at theater headquarters 
was probably the result of the removal of 
the SOS to Cheltenham. The July settle- 
ment represented the product of prolonged 
deliberations and contentions over this 
knotty problem. It was a compromise solu- 
tion which did not please everyone and re- 
sulted in the creation of overlapping 
agencies and much duplication of effort. 
The wording of the order indicates that 
General Eisenhower considered the whole 
arrangement temporary; but more press- 
ing matters in the next few months pre- 
cluded any overhauling of the system, 
with the result that General Order 19 re- 
mained the constitution of ETOUSA for 
about a year. 

(6) The Heritage of S FOBS and USA FBI 

The events of June and July did much 
to establish the general shape and frame- 
work which the theater command was to 
retain for the next few years. ETOUSA's 
organizational structure was now deter- 



mined; its command relationships were at 
least temporarily fixed; and within a four- 
week period three commanders arrived — 
Lee, Spaatz, and Eisenhower — who were 
destined to be key figures in its future de- 
velopment. These events resulted in the 
gradual displacement of the SPOBS and 
USAFBI personnel. General Eisenhower 
retained General Chaney's general staff 
only temporarily, and within a few months 
all but one of the positions had changed 
hands. In the special staff there was more 
stability of tenure. 

Before assessing the accomplishments of 
SPOBS and USAFBI it should be pointed 
out that the original special observer func- 
tion continued to be carried out under one 
name or another even after the activation 
of ETOUSA. The mission of SPOBS had 
not ended with the formation of USAFBI 
early in January 1942, That it had not was 
due mainly to the fact that General 
Chaney had to deal with many matters 
outside the British Isles, particularly de- 
velopments in the Middle East. The War 
Department had specified at that time 
that in addition to taking over as Com- 
manding General, USAFBI, General 
Chaney was to continue as Special Army 
Observer and was also to act as Army 
member of a newly created U.S. Military 
Mission to Great Britain. As indicated 
earlier, the military mission was never 
established, but General Chaney and his 
staff continued to function as special ob- 
servers, with a vaguely understood rela- 
tionship to USAFBI which caused consid- 
erable administrative confusion. In March 
and April General Chaney protested the 
War Department's practice of continuing 
to assign personnel to SPOBS rather than 
to Headquarters, USAFBI. 

One of the most important functions 
that remained after the formation of an 

army command in the United Kingdom 
was the study of technical developments 
in British aircraft and reporting on the 
performance of American equipment, par- 
ticularly aircraft. For this purpose ^ Tech- 
nical Committee had been forrried in 
SPOBS in November 1941. This special 
observer mission continued after the estab- 
lishment of Headquarters, USAFBI; but 
in April, apparently to clear up the ad- 
ministrative confusion over SPOBS' status 
with relation to USAFBI, the Technical 
Committee was reorganized as the Air 
Section, USAFBI, under General Lyon. 
What was left of SPOBS was thus properly 
reduced to the position of a staff section in 
the new headquarters. Henceforth it dealt 
almost exclusively with aircraft, was given 
a semi-independent status, and was 
allowed to communicate directly with 
appropriate War Department agencies on 
purely technical matters. This reorganiza- 
tion appears to have clarified the rather 
anomalous position of SPOBS after the 
formation of USAFBI, although the en- 
listed men of the Headquarters Detach- 
ment of SPOBS were not finally trans- 
ferred to Headquarters, USAFBI, until 
the end of May. 

In the organization of ETOUSA early 
in June the Air Section became the Special 
Observer Section. Its mission was now 
defined as including "all matters which do 
not pertain directly to operations of U.S. 
forces in the ETO." This involved liaison 
on all lend-lease matters with the Harri- 
man mission, the Munitions Assignments 
Board, the Munitions Assignments Com- 
mittee (Air), and the various British 
ministries concerned with production and 
supply. Procurement of technical data on 
the production and operation of aircraft 
was also included in the mission. In carry- 
ing out these duties, however, the Special 



Observer Section came into increasing 
competition with other agencies, particu- 
larly the Eighth Air Force, which wanted 
jurisdiction over the section, and with the 
SOS. The Special Observers had always 
considered their name an unfortunate 
choice, and in July, on General Lyon's 
recommendation, the section was redesig- 
nated the Air Technical Section, As such 
it continued to collect and report on 
British technical developments, but it no 
longer had any duties involving areas out- 
side the European theater. 

It is difficult to evaluate the work of 
SPOBS and USAFBI, for much of what 
they accomplished was intangible. For the 
most part their work was preparatory and 
preliminary. The extent of their accom- 
plishment is certainly not reflected in the 
size of the U.S. forces brought to the 
United Kingdom in this period. At the 
end of May 1942, just before the activa- 
tion of ETOUSA, the U.S. troop strength 
in the British Isles totaled only 35,668, of 
which 32,202 comprised the Northern Ire- 
land forces. Fewer than 2,000-men of the 
Eighth Air Force had arrived. Thus, the 
build-up of U.S. forces was only beginning, 
and the rate of this build-up was not the 
responsibility of SPOBS or USAFBI. 

As for the basic organizational structure 
or framework of the theater, it had been 
established more in spite of General 
Ghaney and his staff than because of them. 
Chancy had plumped for an organization 
that called for regional rather than func- 
tional commands, and for an SOS organi- 
zation that occupied a more subordinate 
position than that outlined in directives 
from the War Department. On both these 
matters he found himself out of harmony 
with current War Department thinking. 
This state of affairs probably resulted as 
much from misunderstanding and lack of 

information on what was transpiring in 
the War Department as from basic dis- 
agreement on principle. Significant devel- 
opments had taken place in March and 
April 1942 which tended to nullify if not 
to render obsolete the command ideas of 
the USAFBI commander. First of all, 
strategic decisions at this time resulted in 
a radical alteration of the ABC-1 agree- 
ments as they applied to the United King- 
dom, and provided for a huge build-up of 
U.S. forces there and a greatly enlarged 
role for American forces in the European 
area. Perhaps an even more important 
factor which operated to defeat General 
Chaney's ideas on command was the re- 
organization of the War Department 
whereby three co-ordinate subcommands 
had been established. Both the SOS and 
the Air Forces in the United States were 
headed by strong personalities who wanted 
to set up parallel commands in the theater 
and to establish direct lines of technical 
control to the theater counterparts of their 
commands in the zone of interior. In view 
of Chaney's lack of knowledge of these de- 
velopents, his plans for the organization 
of his command were logical and under- 
standable. The War Department's own 
early indecision on these matters is re- 
flected in the disposition on the part of 
OPD to uphold General Chaney initially 
in his views on the separate air force 

But however justified General Chaney 
was in opposing the command arrange- 
ments imposed from the War Department 
and in arguing the merits of his own ideas, 
these contentions undoubtedly influenced 
the decision to relieve him from his com- 
mand. In notifying Chaney of his relief, 
General Marshall explained the change 
by stating that he deemed it urgently im- 
portant that the commander in the ETO 



be an officer more intimately acquainted 
with the War Department's plans and one 
who had taken a leading part in the de- 
velopments since December. 33 It is ap- 
parent that other factors entered into the 
War Department's decision. Chaney had 
been overcautious in undertaking any 
commitments in the United Kingdom, 
even after the United States had defi- 
nitely joined the ranks of the belligerents; 
he was thought to lack the necessary drive 
to carry out the enlarged program in the 
theater; and it was felt inappropriate for 
an air force officer to command the large 
ground forces which were to be sent to the 
United Kingdom. He was out of sympathy 
with General Arnold's ideas, and it is ob- 
vious that he was not in the highest favor 
with the inner circle of the Air Forces, for 
he was never given one of its top 

General Chaney had held a difficult 
position both as head of SPOBS and as 
Commanding General, USAFBI. His mis- 
sion had never been clearly defined, and 
his authority over U.S. forces in the United 
Kingdom was indefinite even after his ap- 
pointment as Commanding General, 
USAFBI, in January 1942. In the opinion 
of one of his staff, USAFBI was not a 
theater of operations, but rather "one of 
several forces operating in the theater." 34 
This view is supported by the fact that 
Chaney was frequently bypassed in the 
arrangements made by the War Depart- 
ment for the organization of the theater. 
For example, the War Department cable 
announcing the appointment of the V 
Corps commander went directly to Gen- 
eral Hartle in Northern Ireland without 
previous reference to General Chaney for 
approval. 35 In the spring of 1942 General 
Arnold visited the United Kingdom, met 
with Air Chief Marshal Sir Charles Portal 

and laid out sites for air units, again with- 
out the knowledge or consent of General 
Chaney. The anomalous position of the 
USAFBI commander is further revealed 
in the questions which the British put to 
General Eisenhower during his visit to the 
United Kingdom in May. They looked 
upon Chaney as something "other than a 
Theater Commander," and were obvi- 
ously puzzled as to the U.S. agencies and 
officials with whom their planners were 
to work. It was then that Eisenhower, and 
Arnold and Somervell, who were also in 
England at this time, realized the neces- 
sity of impressing upon the British the fact 
that Chaney had complete responsibility 
for U.S. forces in the United Kingdom. 36 
Before this time, however, there was no 
real acknowledgment in practice that 
Chaney possessed such full authority. The 
same attitude was reflected in the tend- 
ency to keep General Chaney in the dark 
as to what was being planned in Washing- 
ton and what was expected of USAFBI. 
While General Chaney was forewarned of 
the shipment of troops to the British Isles, 
the Magnet plan itself was not received 
in his headquarters until after the first 
contingent had already arrived in 
Northern Ireland. 37 

This situation was inevitably accom- 
panied by an overlapping of function, con- 
fusion of authority, and duplication of 
effort. General Chaney really had a dual 
role. Until the War Department reorgani- 
zation of 1942, as Commanding General, 

:n Cbl 1 197, Marshall to Chaney, 1 1 Jun 42, OPD 
Exec 10, Folder 33, 

i4 Organization and Command, I, 44. 

:i5 Interv with Dahlquist, 16 Jul 45, ETO Adm 517 

;iS Eisenhower's Rpt, Bolero Trip, 23-30 May 42, 
OPD ABC 381 Bolero, 3-16-42, Sec 1. 

:n Memo, Chaney for Hist Div, 23 Jul 46, and 
Memo, Brig Gen Homer Case for Hist Div, 19 Jul 
46, OCMH. 



USAFBI, he came under the immediate 
control of the Commanding General, 
Army Field Forces (GHQ), which was not 
organized or prepared to exercise proper 
control over an overseas command. As 
Special Army Observer Chaney reported 
directly to the War Department. 38 The re- 
sult was that the USAFBI commander 
received directives from several offices in 
the War Department. There was a definite 
lack of co-ordination in the assignment 
and control of the various groups of ob- 
servers sent to the United Kingdom. Some 
worked under SPOBS, some under 
USAFBI, some under the military attache, 
and some as "special military observers" 
sent to the United Kingdom on separate 
missions. Many reported directly to the 
War Department, working independently 
of SPOBS and the military attache, and 
duplicated the work others had already 
done. In this way Northern Ireland was 
reconnoitered and surveyed at least four 
or five times, to the bewilderment of the 
British. 39 

Another handicap under which SPOBS 
and USAFBI labored was the lack of ade- 
quate personnel for the many duties they 
were called on to perform. This became a 
particularly serious drawback after the 
announcement early in January that 
troops would soon arrive in the United 
Kingdom. USAFBI initially operated 
with a headquarters smaller than that of 
a regiment. Most of the staff sections con- 
sisted of but one officer and one enlisted 
man, and certain staff positions could not 
be filled at all initially. USAFBI was so 
shorthanded at the time the reception of 
the first Northern Ireland contingent was 
being planned that officers had to be 
borrowed from the military attache, 40 who 
for some time operated with a staff much 
larger than that of General Chaney. 41 The 

War Department did not even begin to 
send additional officers to build up the 
headquarters until April, and the neces- 
sary housekeeping troops were provided 
only by transferring men from Northern 

SPOBS even considered its name a 
handicap. The choice was dictated by con- 
siderations of security, but as a result 
many officers in the War Department 
were unaware of the true significance of 
the group and came to look upon it as a 
mere information-gathering agency. Ac- 
tually SPOBS went to the United King- 
dom as a military mission and "not just to 
look at gadgets," and became the nucleus 
of a headquarters for an operational force 
in that country. 42 

Despite their many difficulties and the 
fact that they were overruled on some mat- 
ters, SPOBS and USAFBI made many 
positive contributions toward the develop- 
ment of the theater. Perhaps the most tan- 
gible of their accomplishments were the 
preparations they made for the first Amer- 
ican troop arrivals and the planning they 
carried out for the reception of greater 
numbers later. The reception of U.S. units 
in Northern Ireland constituted a "pre- 
liminary canter" in which many of the 
problems that were to arise under the 
Bolero build-up were resolved in minor 
form. In making these preparations 

3S Cbl 293, AGWAR to SPOBS, 8 Jan 42, ETO 
Adm 502 Boundaries and Comd; Interv with Dahl- 
quist, 16 Jul 45. 

39 Memo, Chaney for Hist Div, 23 Jul 46, OGMH; 
Interv with Brig Gen Ralph A. Snavely, 1 7 Oct 45, 
and Interv with Dahlquist, 1 6 Jul 45, ETO Adm 
517 Intervs. 

40 Interv with Brig Gen G. Bryan Conrad, 12 Aug 
45, ETO Adm 517 Intervs. 

Al Interv with Dahlquist, 15 Jul 45, ETO Adm 
517 Intervs. 

4 - Intervs with Dahlquist, 16 Jul 45, and Bolte, 4 
Oct 45, ETO Adm 517 Intervs. 



SPOBS and USAFBI established an early 
liaison with the British on all types of mili- 
tary matters, thus laying the foundation 
for one of the most intimate collaborations 
ever achieved by two allies. 

Arranging for the accommodation of 
American troops afforded the services, 
particularly the engineers, an especially 
fruitful opportunity to gain experience. 
While little new construction was actually 
completed in the first year, the engineers 
under General Davison went far in estab- 
lishing policy for the transfer of accommo- 
dations and in setting up standards of 
construction, and had made good progress 
in planning the housing facilities for 
American troops and arranging for the 
transfer and construction of airfields. The 
Chief Surgeon, Colonel Hawley, likewise 
had determined on a scheme of hospitali- 
zation agreeable to the British, had estab- 
lished requirements and standards, and 
had inaugurated an expansion of the hos- 
pital construction program. The Signal 
Corps was probably the first of the services 
to acquire practical working experience in 
the United Kingdom. Colonel Matejka, 
SPOBS Signal Officer, had early estab- 
lished working arrangements with the 
British signals organization on the use of 
British installations and equipment, and 
on the schooling of American units in Brit- 
ish communications procedure. The Quar- 
termaster Corps also shared in the early 
determination of policy for the accommo- 
dation of American troops. Under the 
USAFBI Quartermaster, Colonel Middle- 
swart, a British suggestion that American 
troops draw their food supplies from the 
same sources as British troops was rejected, 
and steps were taken to establish separate 
U.S. imports and depots to insure that 
American troops would have American 
rations. 43 

Other staff sections also traced their be- 
ginnings to the days of SPOBS and 
USAFBI, and initiated the activities 
which later were greatly expanded in the 
much enlarged ETOUSA organization. 
Agreements were reached with the British 
on the handling of mail; the Stars and 
Stripes was launched as a weekly in April; 
and on General Chaney's recommenda- 
tion the War Department designated the 
Red Cross as the sole welfare agency to 
work with troops in the theater. He also 
insisted on the control of press relations 
and censorship as a function of his com- 
mand, independent of the British. 44 It was 
in the SPOBS period also that discussions 
were initiated with the British government 
leading to the passage of the Visiting 
Forces Act by the British Parliament in 
August 1942, which gave the Americans 
full legal jurisdiction over their own forces 
and exempted them from criminal pro- 
ceedings in the courts of the United 

All the varied activities of the predeces- 
sor commands — their work with the Har- 
riman mission in inaugurating lend-lease 
aid to both Britain and the USSR; their 
efforts in connection with the technical as- 
pects of lend-lease; their aid in the estab- 
lishment of bases in the Middle East for 
maintenance of American-built equip- 
ment used by the British; their supervision 
of the Electronics Training Group; their 
collaboration with the British, through the 
Technical Committee, on radar and jet 
propulsion; their assistance in expediting 
modifications in American equipment as a 
result of their reporting of defects in U.S. 
airplanes, tanks, and other materiel used 

4:1 See the technical service histories in this series 
for more detailed coverage of the SPOBS accom- 

44 Memo, Case for Hist Div, 19 Jul 46, OCMH. 



by the British in combat, especially their 
valuable recommendations on the im- 
provement of fighter planes, notably the 
P-51 — all these and their many other 
services constituted a formidable record of 
accomplishment that enriched the legacy 
bequeathed to ETOUSA. Even though, 

as one of the special observers has pointed 
out, ETOUSA insisted on repeating much 
of the work of SPOBS and USAFBI, the 
new headquarters inherited invaluable 
permanent working organizations and the 
hard core of a command structure for the 



in 1942 

(1) BOLERO Is Born 

The first major task confronting the 
newly activated ETOUSA, beyond its in- 
ternal organization, was to prepare for the 
reception of the American forces which 
were scheduled to arrive in the British 
Isles. The strategic decision which pro- 
vided the basis for this build-up was taken 
in April 1942. 

At the Arcadia Conference in Washing- 
ton in December 1941-January 1942, 
American and British military leaders had 
taken steps to allocate shipping and de- 
ploy troop units, had determined on the 
principle of unity of command, and had 
created the Combined Chiefs of Staff 
(CCS) as an over-all combined co-ordi- 
nating agency. Despite the unexpected 
manner in which the United States had 
been drawn into the war, they also reaf- 
firmed the earlier resolution to give prior- 
ity to the defeat of Germany. Beyond this, 
however, no decisions were made on how 
or where the first offensives were to be car- 
ried out. In 1941 British planners had 
drawn up a plan, known as Roundup, for 
a return to the Continent. But Roundup 
was not conceived on the scale required 
for an all-out offensive against a strong 
and determined enemy. It was designed 
rather to exploit a deterioration of the 

enemy's strength, and to serve as the coup 
de grace to an enemy already near collapse. 
It reflected only too well the meager re- 
sources then available to the British. The 
conferences at Arcadia gave more serious 
consideration to a plan for the invasion of 
northwest Africa, known as Gymnast. 
This also became academic in view of the 
demands which the Pacific area was mak- 
ing on available troops and shipping. The 
Arcadia deliberations therefore led to the 
conclusion that operations in 1942 would 
of necessity have to be of an emergency 
nature, and that there could be no large- 
scale operations aimed at establishing a 
permanent bridgehead on the European 
Continent that year. 

In the first hectic months after Amer- 
ican entry into the war, when the United 
States was preoccupied with measures to 
check Japanese expansion toward Aus- 
tralia, U.S. planners had not agreed on a 
long-range strategy. But an early decision 
on ultimate objectives was urgently 
needed if the American concept of a final 
decisive offensive was ever to be carried 
out. The President urged immediate ac- 
tion on such a guide, and in March 1942 
the Operations Division of the War De- 
partment worked out a plan for a full-scale 
invasion of Europe in 1943. General Mar- 
shall gave the proposal his wholehearted 



support and, after certain revisions in 
language had been made, presented it to 
the President on 2 April. The Commander 
in Chief promptly approved the plan and 
also the idea of clearing it directly with 
the British Chiefs of Staff in London. Gen- 
eral Marshall and Harry Hopkins accord- 
ingly flew to England immediately and, in 
discussions between 9 and 14 April, won 
the approval of the British Chiefs of Staff 
for the "Marshall Memorandum." The 
plan that it embodied had already been 
christened Bolero. 

It contemplated three main phases: a 
preparatory period, the cross-Channel 
movement and seizure of beachheads be- 
tween Le Havre and Boulogne, and the 
consolidation and expansion of the beach- 
heads and beginning of the general ad- 
vance. The preparatory phase consisted of 
all measures that could be undertaken in 
1942 and included establishment of a pre- 
liminary active front by air bombardment 
and coastal raids, preparation for the pos- 
sible launching of an emergency operation 
in the fall in the event that either the Rus- 
sian situation became desperate or the 
German position in Western Europe was 
critically weakened, and immediate initia- 
tion of procurement, materiel allocations, 
and troop and cargo movements to the 
United Kingdom. The principal and de- 
cisive offensive was to take place in the 
spring of 1943 with a combined U.S. -Brit- 
ish force of approximately 5,800 combat 
aircraft and forty-eight divisions. 

Logistic factors were the primary con- 
sideration governing the date on which 
such an operation could take place. It was 
proposed that at the beginning of the in- 
vasion approximately thirty U.S. divisions 
should be either in England or en route, 
and that U.S. strength in Britain should 
total one million men. To move such a 

force required a long period of intensive 
preparation. Supplies and shipping would 
have to be conserved, and all production, 
special construction, training, troop move- 
ments, and allocations co-ordinated to a 
single end. The shortage of shipping was 
recognized as one of the greatest limita- 
tions on the timing and strength of the at- 
tack, and it was therefore imperative that 
U.S. air and ground units begin moving 
to the United Kingdom immediately by 
every available ship. Because the element 
of time was of utmost importance, the 
Marshall Memorandum emphasized that 
the decision on the main effort had to be 
made immediately to insure that the 
necessary resources would be available. 1 

Such a decision was obtained with the 
acceptance of the Bolero proposal by the 
British in mid-April. Despite the succes- 
sion of defeats in the early months of 1942, 
approval of the Marshall Memorandum 
instilled a new optimism, particularly 
among American military leaders. There 
now was hope that what appeared to be a 
firm decision on the Allies' major war ef- 
fort would put an end to the dispersion of 
effort and resources. The decision of April 
provided a definite goal for which plan- 
ners in both the United States and the 
United Kingdom could now prepare in 

To implement such planning for the 
Bolero build-up a new agency was estab- 
lished. Within a week after agreement was 
reached in London, Brig. Gen. Thomas T 
Handy, Army member of the Joint Staff 
Planners of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on the 
suggestion of General Eisenhower, pro- 
posed the establishment of a combined 
U.S. -British committee for detailed 

1 Plan, Operations in Western Europe, n, d., ETO 
Adm Bolero Misc. 



Bolero planning, 2 and on 28 April the 
Combined Chiefs of Staff directed the for- 
mation of such an agency as a subcommit- 
tee of the Combined Staff Planners. This 
agency was known as the Bolero Com- 
bined Committee and consisted of two 
officers from OPD, two Navy officers, and 
one representative from each of the three 
British services. The committee was to 
have no responsibility for preparing tac- 
tical plans. Its mission was to "outline, 
co-ordinate and supervise" all plans for 
preparations and operations in connection 
with the movement to, and reception and 
maintenance of American forces in, the 
United Kingdom. This would cover such 
matters as requirements, availability, and 
allocation of troops, equipment, shipping, 
port facilities, communications, naval es- 
cort, and the actual scheduling of troop 
movements. 3 As observed by its chairman, 
Col. John E. Hull, at the first meeting of 
the Bolero Combined Committee on 29 
April 1942, the new agency's principal 
business would be to act as a shipping 
agency. 4 

A similar committee, known as the 
Bolero Combined Committee (London), 
was established in England. The London 
committee's main concern was with the 
administrative preparation for the recep- 
tion, accommodation, and maintenance 
of U.S. forces in the United Kingdom. 
Workingjointly, the two agencies were to 
plan and supervise the entire movement 
of the million-man force which was sched- 
uled to arrive in Britain within the next 
eleven months. To achieve the closest pos- 
sible working arrangement, a system of 
direct communications was set up between 
the two committees with a special series of 
cables identified as Black (from Washing- 
ton) and Pink (from London). The ex- 
change of communications began on the 

last day of April, when the Washington 
committee requested information on Brit- 
ish shipping capacities and urged that the 
utmost be done to get the movement of 
troops started promptly in order to take 
advantage of the summer weather. 5 By the 
first week in May detailed planning for 
the movement and reception of the 
Bolero force was under way in both 

For several weeks after the April deci- 
sion on strategy and the establishment of 
the Combined Committees considerable 
confusion arose over the exact scope and 
meaning of the term Bolero. The pro- 
posal that General Marshall took with 
him to London had carried no code word; 
it was titled simply "Operations in West- 
ern Europe." The code name Bolero had 
first become associated with the plan in 
the War Department OPD. In that divi- 
sion's first outlines of the plan Bolero em- 
bodied not only the basic strategic concept 
of a full-scale cross-Channel attack in 
1943 but also the preparatory phases, in- 
cluding the supply and troop build-up in 
the United Kingdom and any limited op- 
erations which might be carried out in 
1942. Within a few weeks two additional 
code names had come into use for specific 
aspects of the over-all plan. General Mar- 
shall's memorandum had spoken of a 
"modified plan" which it might be neces- 
sary to carry out on an "emergency" basis. 
By this was meant a limited operation 
which might be launched against the 

2 JPS Min (extract), 13th Mtg, 22 Apr 42, OPD 
ABC 381 Bolero 3-16-42, Sec 1. 

3 GPS Dir, Preparation of War Plan Bolero, CPS 
26/2/D, 28 Apr 42, OPD ABC 381 Bolero 
3-16-42, Sec 1. 

4 BCC(W) Min, 1st Mtg, 29 Apr 42, ETO Adm 
Bolero Misc. 

5 Cbl Black 1, BCC(W) to BCC(L), 30 Apr 42, 
ETO Adm 391 Bolero 1943. 



European Continent in the event the Red 
armies showed signs of collapse or the Ger- 
man position in France was materially 
weakened. For such an operation the scale 
of possible American participation would 
be particularly limited because of the 
shortage of shipping. It was estimated that 
not more than 700 combat planes and 
three and a half divisions would have ar- 
rived in England by mid-September, al- 
though considerably larger forces would 
be equipped and trained in the United 
States and ready to take part as shipping 
became available. This "emergency" or 
"modified plan" soon came to be known 
as Sledgehammer, a name which Prime 
Minister Winston S. Churchill had coined 
earlier in connection with similar plans 
made by the British. Similarly, the more 
purely tactical aspects of the Bolero 
plan — the actual cross-Channel attack — 
were soon commonly referred to by the 
name which British planners had used in 
connection with their earlier plans for con- 
tinental operations, Roundup, even 
though those earlier plans bore little re- 
semblance to the project now in prepara- 
tion. There already existed in London a 
Roundup committee engaged in the ad- 
ministrative planning for a cross-Channel 

The increased use of Sledgehammer 
and Roundup in communications pro- 
duced an inevitable confusion and doubt 
over the exact meaning of Bolero. Late 
in May USAFBI pointed out to the War 
Department the wide divergency in views 
held in Washington and London, 6 and 
OPD finally took steps to have the term 
Bolero denned. Early in July a presiden- 
tial directive was issued stipulating that 
Bolero would cover specifically the 
"preparation for and movement of United 
States Forces into the European Theater, 

preparation for their reception therein 
and the production, assembly, transport, 
reception and storage of equipment and 
supplies necessary for support of the 
United States Force in operations against 
the European Continent." 7 Thenceforth 
the use of the name Bolero was confined 
to the plan for the great build-up of men 
and materiel in the United Kingdom. 

The inauguration of the Bolero build- 
up initially posed a fourfold problem: the 
establishment of a troop basis; a decision 
on the composition of the Bolero force, 
including the priority in which units were 
desired in the United Kingdom; setting 
up a shipping schedule; and preparing re- 
ception and accommodation facilities in 
the United Kingdom. Designating the 
priority in which various units were de- 
sired and preparing their accommodations 
in the British Isles were problems that had 
to be solved in the theater. Establishing 
the troop basis or troop availability and 
setting up a shipping schedule were tasks 
for the War Department, the shipping 
schedule more specifically in the province 
of the Bolero Combined Committee in 
Washington. But the four tasks were inter- 
related, and required the closest kind of 
collaboration between the theater head- 
quarters, British authorities, the two Com- 
bined Committees, the OPD, and other 
War Department agencies. 

One step had already been taken to- 
ward establishing a troop basis when the 
Marshall Memorandum set the goal of a 
build-up of a million men in the United 
Kingdom by 1 April 1943. In fact, this was 
the only figure that had any near-stability 

6 Memo, Bolte for Eisenhower, 29 May 42, 
USFET AG 381 54-40 Bolero. 

7 Memo, OPD for CofS, sub: Code Designators 
for Opns in ETO, 7 Jul 42, with draft presidential 
dir, WD AG, ETO. 



in the rapidly shifting plans of the first 
months. The accompanying target of 30 
U.S. divisions in England or en route by 
April 1943 represented hardly more than 
wishful thinking at this time. It proved 
entirely unrealistic when analyzed in the 
light of movement capabilities, and War 
Department planners within a matter of 
weeks reduced the figure first to 25 divi- 
sions, then to 20, and finally to 15. 8 

Meanwhile planners in both the United 
States and in the United Kingdom had 
begun work on a related problem — the 
composition of the Bolero force, and the 
priority in which Units were to be shipped. 
In determining what constituted a "bal- 
anced force" there was much opportunity 
for disagreement. Ground, air, and service 
branches inevitably competed for what 
each regarded as its rightful portion of the 
total troop basis. A survey of manpower 
resources in the spring of 1942 revealed a 
shocking situation with regard to the 
availability of service units. Only 11.8 
percent of the 1942 Army troop basis had 
been allotted for service troops, a woefully 
inadequate allowance to provide support 
for combat troops in theaters of opera- 
tions. Neglect of the service elements in 
favor of combat troops reflected an atti- 
tude which was common before the 
Franco-Prussian War of 1870, but which 
hardly squared with the proven logistic 
requirements of modern warfare. A study 
made in the War Department SOS in 
April showed that, of the total AEF force 
of nearly two million men in France at the 
end of World War I, 34 percent were serv- 
ice troops, exclusive of the service elements 
with the ground combat and air force 
units. On the basis of the 1917-18 experi- 
ence the study estimated that the SOS 
component of the Bolero force should be 
at least 35 percent, or about 350,000 men, 

and General Somervell requested OPD to 
take these figures into consideration in any 
troop planning for Bolero. 9 

The earliest breakdown of the Bolero 
force troop basis provided that approxi- 
mately 26 percent of the troop basis be 
allotted to service forces. The Combined 
Committee in Washington tentatively sug- 
gested the following composition of the 
U.S. force early in May, and requested 
USAFBI's opinion on the proportions: 10 

Type Number 

Total 1,042,000 

Air Forces 240,000 

Services of Supply . 277,000 

Ground Forces 1 525, 000 

1 (17 divisions plus supporting units). 

These figures already embodied a small 
reduction of an earlier ground force troop 
basis made to preclude a reduction in the 
service troop allocation. 11 Approximately 
one fourth of the Bolero force was thus 
allotted to service troops. 

Later in May the War Department 
established the general priorities for the 
movement of American units. Air units 
were to be shipped first, followed by essen- 
tial SOS units, then ground forces, and 
then additional service units needed to 

8 Memo, Secy WDGS for CG SOS ei al, sub: 
Troop Basis, 19 May 42, WDAG OPD 320.2 
Bolero. The various copies of the Bolero plan re- 
veal later downward revisions. ETO Adm Bolero 

9 Memo, Gol Roy G. L. Graham, Deputy Dir of 
Opns SOS, for Somervell, sub: Proportion of Svc 
Troops to Ground Forces, 27 Apr 42, and Memo, 
Somervell for Eisenhower, 29 Apr 42, WDAG G/S 
370.5 4-27-42; Remarks, Col Garter B. Magruder, 
Ping Div ASF, ASF Conf, 2 Jun 42, ASF Ping Div 
106 Bolero. 

10 Gbl Black 2, BGG(W) to BCC(L), n. d. (early 
May 42), ETO 381 Bolero 1943. 

11 BCC(W) Min, 3rd Mtg, 6 May 42, Annex 1, 
OPD ABC 381 Bolero, Sec 1. 



prepare the ground for later shipments. 12 
By the end of the month General Chaney, 
who was still in command in the United 
Kingdom, submitted lists of priorities 
within the War Department's announced 
availabilities. 13 

There still remained the problem of 
finding and making available the numbers 
and types of troop units which the theater 
desired. This presented no insurmountable 
difficulty so far as combat units were con- 
cerned, since adequate provision had been 
made for their activation and training. 
But in the spring of 1942 few trained serv- 
ice troops were available for duty in over- 
seas theaters, and service troops beyond 
all others, were required first in the United 
Kingdom. It was imperative that they 
precede combat units in order to receive 
equipment and supplies, prepare depots 
and other accommodations, and provide 
essential services for the units which fol- 
lowed. Certain types of units were not 
available at all; others could be sent with 
only some of their complements trained, 
and those only partially. 14 On the assump- 
tion that "a half-trained man is better 
than no man," General Lee willingly ac- 
cepted partially trained units with the 
intention of giving them on-the-job train- 
ing, so urgently were they needed in the 
United Kingdom. 15 As an emergency 
measure, the War Department authorized 
an early shipment of 1 0,000 service 
troops. 16 

Scheduling the shipment of the Bolero 
units proved the most exasperating prob- 
lem of all. The shortage of shipping cir- 
cumscribed the planners at every turn, 
strait-jacketing the entire build-up plan 
and forcing almost daily changes in 
scheduled movements. U.S. shipping re- 
sources were limited to begin with, and 
were unequal to the demands suddenly 

placed on them by planned troop deploy- 
ments in both the Atlantic and Pacific. 
War Department planners estimated early 
in March 1942 that 300,000 American 
troops could be moved to the United 
Kingdom by October. This prospect was 
almost immediately obscured by decisions 
to deploy additional British forces to the 
Middle East and the Indian Ocean area 
and U.S. troops to the Southwest Pacific, 
and by the realization that enemy sub- 
marines were taking a mounting toll of 
Allied shipping. Late in March the earlier 
optimism melted away in the face of 
estimates that large troop movements 
could not begin until late in the summer, 
and that only 105,000 men, including a 
maximum of three and a half infantry 
divisions, might be moved to Britain by 

British authorities had offered some 
hope of alleviating the shortage in troop 
lift by transferring some of their largest 
liners to the service of the Bolero build- 
up as soon as the peak deployment to the 
Middle East had passed. But the shortage 
of cargo shipping was even more desper- 
ate, and the fate of the build-up depended 
on the balancing of cargo and troop move- 
ments. There was particular urgency 
about initiating the build-up during the 
summer months, in part to take advantage 
of the longer days which permitted heavier 

12 Ltr, Hull to Bolte, 19 May 42, ETO AG 381 
re-40 May-Dec 42. 

13 Cbl 839, Marshall to USFOR London, 24 May 
42, and Cbl 1761, USFOR to AGWAR, 29 May 42, 
ETO 381 Bolero 1943. 

14 Remarks by Col Magruder, ASF Gonf, 2 Jun 42. 

15 The remark was made by General Larkin, Lee's 
chief of staff, in one of the organizational conferences 
held in the War Department before the departure 
for England, Lee Diary, 18 May 42. 

16 Memo, Col Griner, G-4 USAFBI, for CofS, sub: 
Breakdown of 10,000 SOS Troops, 22 May 42, ETO 
Preinvasion 321 Bolero. 



unloadings at British ports, and in part to 
avoid the telescoping of shipments into a 
few months early in 1943 in view of the 
unbearable congestion it would create in 
British ports. In mid-April, at the time of 
the Marshall visit to England, American 
authorities took some encouragement from 
a British offer to provide cargo shipping 
as well as troopships on the condition that 
American units cut down on their equip- 
ment allowances, particularly for assem- 
bled vehicles. But these commitments were 
unavoidably vague, for it was next to im- 
possible to predict what shipping would be 
available for Bolero in the summer of 
1942, when the Allies were forced to put 
out fires in one place after another. 17 

The hard realities of the shipping situa- 
tion made themselves felt again shortly 
after the London conference. On 9 May 
the War Department issued a "Tentative 
Movement Schedule" providing for the 
transfer of about 1,070,000 American 
troops to the United Kingdom by 1 April 
1943. 18 The title was immediately recog- 
nized as a misnomer, for the figure simply 
indicated the number of troops which 
would be available for movement and 
bore no relationship to actual shipping 
capabilities. On the very day this so-called 
movement schedule was issued, the 
Bolero Combined Committee of Wash- 
ington revealed the sobering facts regard- 
ing the limitations which shipping im- 
posed, notifying the London committee 
that a build-up of not more than 832,000 
could be achieved in the United Kingdom 
by 1 April 1943. 19 There was even talk of 
lowering the goal to 750,000 and so allo- 
cating the various components as to create 
a balanced force in case a reduction 
proved necessary. The revised figure 
would have been 250,000 short of the mil- 
lion-man target and more than 300,000 

short of the total number of troops avail- 
able. For the moment it again appeared 
that a force of only 105,000 men could be 
moved to the United Kingdom by Sep- 
tember. Even this number was to be 
reached only by postponing the evacua- 
tion of British troops from Iceland. The 
Combined Chiefs of Staff, in approving 
these shipments, noted that while long- 
range schedules could be projected it was 
impossible to forecast what the shipping 
situation might be in a few months. 20 

The warning that shipping capacity 
might fluctuate was soon justified. Within 
a week British officials were able to prom- 
ise additional aid for the month of June by 
diverting troop lift from the Middle East- 
Indian Ocean program. They offered the 
use of both of the £C monsters," the Queen 
Mary and Queen Elizabeth, and part-time 
use of other ships, including the Aquitania, 
beginning in August. 21 Accordingly in 
mid-May it was possible to schedule an 
additional 45,000 for shipment in June, 
July, and August, which would bring the 
strength in the United Kingdom to ap- 
proximately 150,000 by 1 September 
1942. 22 Part of the accelerated movement 

17 See Richard M. Leighton and Robert W. Coak- 
ley, The Logistics of Global Warfare, in preparation 
for this series, draft chapter "Bolero: First Phase," 
for a full discussion of Bolero planning at the War 
Department level. 

18 Tentative Movement Schedule, 9 May 42, OPD 
ABC 381 Bolero, Sec 1. 

19 Cbl Black 4, BCC( W) to BCC(L), 9 May 42, 
ETO 381 Bolero 1943. 

20 CCS Min (extract), 19th Mtg, 12 May 42, OPD 
ABC 381 Bolero. 

21 Leighton and Coakley, Logistics of Global War- 
fare, Ch. XII; JCS Min (notes and extract), 15th Mtg, 
18 May 42, sub: Bolero— Rpt of GPS, OPD ABC 
381 Bolero 3-16-42, Sec 1. 

22 Cbl 742, AGWAR to USFOR London, 18 May 
42, ETO Bolero Incoming Msgs, Bolero Move- 
ments; Memo, Hull, 21 May 42, sub: Troop Move- 
ment Schedules for Bolero and Nabob, OPD ABC 
381 Bolero 3-16-42, Sec 1. 



was to be accomplished by the overload- 
ing of troop carriers. The long-range ship- 
ping schedule now projected a build-up of 
892,000 by 1 April 1943. 

These schedules had no more perma- 
nency than those prepared earlier. A fur- 
ther revision was made early in June, 
slightly reducing the shipments for July 
and August. Later in June, the darkest 
month of the war, fresh disasters threat- 
ened to upset the entire build-up projected 
for that summer. 

In the meantime the theater had at- 
tempted to reconcile its Bolero troop 
allotment with limitations imposed by the 
shipping shortage. Early in June the War 
Department had submitted to ETOUSA 
a troop basis made up as follows: 

Type Number 

Total 1,071,060 

Air Forces 206, 400 

Services of Supply 279, 145 

Headquarters units 3, 932 

Combat divisions (20) 278, 473 

Ground support units 303, 110 

The deficit in shipping, however, obliged 
ETOUSA to determine whether, within 
the limitations, a force of adequate 
strength and balance could be built up in 
the United Kingdom. Senior commanders 
there had decided that a minimum of fif- 
teen divisions out of the twenty provided 
for in the War Department troop basis 
must be present in the United Kingdom 
on the agreed target date. Theater plan- 
ners therefore estimated that 75,000 places 
could be saved by dropping a maximum 
of five divisions. Another saving of 30,000 
could be realized by deferring the arrival 
of certain ground support troops until 
after 1 April. Even these cuts left a deficit 
of 35,000 places, and the theater therefore 
found it necessary to direct its major com- 

mands to make a detailed study of their 
personnel requirements with a view to- 
ward further reducing troop requirements 
and deferring shipments. These steps were 
taken reluctantly, for the theater deplored 
deferring the arrival of units which it 
thought should be in the United Kingdom 
by the target date, and naturally would 
have felt "more comfortable" with assur- 
ances that the million-man build-up 
would be achieved. 23 

A few weeks later the theater headquar- 
ters made a new statement of its require- 
ments for a balanced force. It called for a 
force of sixteen divisions and provided for 
reductions in all other components to the 
following numbers: 

Air Forces to 195,000 

Services of Supply 250, 000 

Divisions (16/ 224,000 

Ground support units 292, 564 

But the estimate included a new require- 
ment for 137,000 replacements, which had 
the net effect of increasing the troop basis 
to approximately 1,100,000. 24 The deficit 
in shipping consequently became greater 
than before. In attempting to achieve the 
target of the Bolero plan the two nations 
thus faced an unsuperable task in the sum- 
mer of 1942. By the end of July, however, 
a major alteration in strategy was destined 
to void most of these calculations. 

(2) BOLERO Planning in the United Kingdom, 
May-July 1942: the First Key Plans 

While the War Department wrestled 
with the shipping problem, preparations 

2:i Memo, Hq ETO for BCC(L), 26 Jun 42, ETO 
BCC Bk 1 ; Staff Memo, Col Barker for Cof S ETO, 
15 Jun 42, sub: Troop Basis, ETO Adm 346 Troop 

BCC(L) Progress Rpt 10, 20 Jul 42, ETO BCC 




for the reception and accommodation of 
the Bolero force got under way in the 
United Kingdom, The principal burden 
of such preparation was assumed at first 
by British agencies, which had been 
prompt to initiate planning immediately 
after the strategic decisions made at 
Glaridge's in April, a full month before the 
arrival of General Lee and the activation 
of the SOS. British and American plan- 
ners had of course collaborated in prepar- 
ing for the arrival of the Magnet force in 
Northern Ireland, but the Bolero plan 
now projected a build-up on a scale so 
much greater than originally contem- 
plated that it was necessary to recast 
accommodation plans completely. 

The million troops that the War De- 
partment planned to ship to the European 
theater were destined to go to an island 
which had already witnessed two and one- 
half years of intensive war activity. Now 
the United Kingdom was to be the scene 
of a still vaster and more feverish prepara- 
tion as a base for offensive operations. The 
existence of such a friendly base, where 
great numbers of troops and enormous 
quantities of the munitions of war could 
be concentrated close to enemy shores, 
was a factor of prime importance in deter- 
mining the nature of U.S. operations 
against the continental enemy. It was a 
factor perhaps too frequently taken for 
granted, for the United Kingdom, with its 
highly developed industry and excellent 
communications network, and already 
possessing many fixed military installa- 
tions, including airfields and naval bases, 
was an ideal base compared with the un- 
derdeveloped and primitive areas from 
which American forces were obliged to 
operate in many other parts of the world. 

The United Kingdom already sup- 
ported a population of 48,000,000 in an 

area smaller than the state of Oregon. In 
the next two years it was to be further con- 
gested by the arrival of an American force 
of a million and a half, requiring such 
facilities as troop accommodations, air- 
fields, depots, shops, training sites, ports, 
and rolling stock. Great Britain had al- 
ready carried out a far more complete 
mobilization than was ever to be achieved 
in the United States. As early as 1941, 94 
out of every 100 males in the United King- 
dom between the ages of 14 and 64 had 
been mobilized into the services or indus- 
try, and of the total British working popu- 
lation of 32,000,000 approximately 22,- 
000,000 were eventually drafted for service 
either in industry or the armed forces. 25 
The British had made enormous strides in 
the production of munitions of all types. 
In order to save shipping space they had 
cut down on imports and made great ef- 
forts to increase the domestic output of 
food. There was little scope for accom- 
plishing such an increase in a country 
where nearly all the tillable land was al- 
ready in cultivation. In fact, the reclama- 
tion of wasteland was more than offset by 
losses of farm land to military and other 
nonagricultural uses. Raising the output 
of human food could be accomplished 
only by increasing the actual physical 
yield of the land, therefore, and by in- 
creasing the proportion of crops suitable 
for direct human consumption, such as 
wheat, sugar beets, potatoes, and other 

25 Of the total male population of 16,000,000 be- 
tween the ages of 14 and 64, 15,000,000 were mobi- 
lized into the services and industry, and of the total 
female population of 16,000,000 between the ages of 
14 and 59, about 7,000,000 were eventually mobilized. 
W. K. Hancock, ed., Statistical Digest of the War 
( History of the Second World War, Civil Series ), prepared 
in the Central Statistical Office (London, 1951), p. 8; 
British Information Service, 50 Facts about Britain's 
War Effort (London, 1944), p. 7. 



Despite measures such as these the Brit- 
ish had accepted a regimentation that in- 
volved rigid rationing of food and clothing, 
imposed restrictions on travel, and 
brought far-reaching changes in their 
working and living habits. For nearly 
three years they had lived and worked 
under complete blackout; family life had 
been broken up both by the withdrawal of 
men and women to the services and by 
evacuation and billeting. Production had 
been plagued by the necessity to disperse 
factories in order to frustrate enemy air 
attacks and by the need to train labor in 
new tasks. Nearly two million men gave 
their limited spare time after long hours of 
work for duty in the Home Guard, and 
most other adult males and many women 
performed part-time civil defense and fire 
guard duties after working hours. An al- 
most complete ban on the erection of new 
houses and severe curtailment of repair 
and maintenance work on existing houses, 
bomb damage, the necessity for partial 
evacuation of certain areas, and the req- 
uisition of houses for the services all con- 
tributed to the deterioration of living con- 
ditions. Britain's merchant fleet, which 
totaled 17,500,000 gross tons at the start 
of the war, had lost more than 9,000,000 
tons of shipping to enemy action, and its 
losses at the end of 1942 still exceeded 
gains by about 2,000,000 tons. A drastic 
cut in trade had been forced as a result. 
Imports of both food and raw materials 
were reduced by one half, and imports of 
finished goods were confined almost ex- 
clusively to munitions. Before the war 
British imports had averaged 55,000,000 
tons per year (exclusive of gasoline and 
other tanker -borne products). By 1942 the 
figure had fallen to 23,000,000— less than 
inl917. 26 

In an economy already so squeezed, 

little could be spared to meet the demands 
for both supplies and services which the 
reception arid accommodation of the 
Bolero force promised to make upon it. It 
is not surprising that British planners 
should visualize the impact which the 
build-up would have on Britain's wartime 
economy, and they were quick to foresee 
the need for an adequate liaison with the 
American forces in the United Kingdom, 
and for administrative machinery to cope 
with build-up problems. Planning in the 
United Kingdom began in earnest with 
creation of the London counterpart of the 
Bolero Committee in Washington on 4 
May 1942. The Bolero Combined Com- 
mittee (London) was established under 
the chairmanship of Sir Findlater Stewart, 
the British Home Defence Committee 
chairman. Its British membership in- 
cluded representatives of the Quartermas- 
ter General (from the War Office), the 
Fourth Sea Lord (from the Admiralty), 
the Air Member for Supply and Organ- 
ization (from the Air Ministry), the C-in-C 
(Commander-in-Chief) Home Forces, the 
Chief of Combined Operations, the Minis- 
try of War Transport, and the Ministry of 
Home Security. 27 

U.S. forces in the United Kingdom 
were asked to send representatives to the 
committee. Four members of General 
Chaney's staff — General Bolte, General 
McClelland, Colonel Barker, and Colonel 
Griner — attended the first meeting, held 
on 5 May at Norfolk House, St. James's 
Square. Because of the continued shortage 
of officers in Headquarters, USAFBI, 

26 Statistical Digest of the War, pp. 173-74, 177, 180; 
Statistics Relating to the War Effort of the United Kingdom^ 
presented by the Prime Minister to Parliament, 
November, 1944 (London, 1944), pp. 1, 16-17, 

27 BCG(L) Min, 1st Mtg, 5 May 42, ETO Prein- 
vasion 322. 



however, regular U.S. members were not 
immediately appointed, and American 
representation varied at each meeting. 28 
General Lee first attended a session of the 
Bolero Combined Committee with a 
large portion of his staff on 26 May, two 
days after he arrived in the United 
Kingdom. 29 

The mission of the London Committee 
was "to prepare plans and make adminis- 
trative preparation for the reception, ac- 
commodation and maintenance of United 
States Forces in the United Kingdom and 
for the development of the United King- 
dom in accordance with the requirements 
of the 'Roundup' plan." 30 The committee 
was to act under the general authority of 
a group known as the Principal Adminis- 
trative Officers Committee, made up of 
the administrative heads of the three Brit- 
ish services — the Quartermaster General, 
the Fourth Sea Lord, and the Air Member 
for Supply and Organization. To this 
group major matters of policy requiring 
decision and arbitration were to be re- 
ferred. Each of the "administrative chiefs 
of staff," as they were first called, was 
represented on the Combined Committee. 
Sir Findlater Stewart commented at the 
first meeting that much detailed planning 
would be required. But it was not in- 
tended that the committee become im- 
mersed in details. It was to be concerned 
chiefly with major policy and planning. 
The implementation of its policies and 
plans was to be accomplished by the Brit- 
ish Quartermaster General through the 
directives of the Deputy Quartermaster 
General (Liaison) and carried out by the 
various War Office directorates (Quarter- 
ing, Movements, for example) and by the 
various departments of the Ministries of 
Labor, Supply, Works and Buildings, and 
so on. These would co-ordinate plans with 

the Combined Committee through the 
latter's subcommittees on supply, accom- 
modation, transportation, labor, and 
medical service, which were shortly estab- 
lished to deal with the principal adminis- 
trative problems wit h which t he Com- 
mittee was concerned. \Chart2)\ 

One of the key members of the Com- 
bined Committee was the Deputy Quar- 
termaster General (Liaison), Maj. Gen. 
Richard M, Wootten. This officer was not 
only the representative of the British 
Quartermaster General on the London 
Committee and as such responsible for the 
implementation of the committee's deci- 
sions, but also the official agent of liaison 
with the American forces. British prob- 
lems with respect to Bolero were prima- 
rily problems of accommodations and 
supply, which in the British Army were 
the responsibility of the Quartermaster 
General (Lt. Gen. Sir Walter Venning). It 
was logical, therefore, that his office be- 
come the chief .link between the War 
Office and the American Services of Sup- 
ply. To achieve the necessary co-ordina- 
tion with the Americans on administrative 
matters the War Office established a spe- 
cial branch under the Quartermaster 
General to deal exclusively with matters 
presented by the arrival of U.S. forces. 
This branch was known as Q (Liaison), 
and was headed by General Wootten. 
Q (Liaison) was further divided into two 
sections, one known as Q (Planning Liai- 
son) to deal with the executive side of 
planning for reception and accommoda- 
tion, and the other as Q (American Liai- 
son) to deal with problems of the relation- 

28 Ibid. 

29 BCC(L) Min, 6th Mtg, 26 May 42, ETO Pre- 
invasion 322. 

30 Note by Secy, War Cabinet, BCC(L), 4 May 42, 
ETO Preinvasion 322. 

Chart 2 — The Bolero Administrative Organization in the United Kingdom 

British Chiefs of Staff 

Principal Administrative Officers Committee 
(or Administrative Chiefs of Staff) 
The Quartermaster General 
The Fourth Sea Lord 
The Air Member for Supply and 
Organization (AMSO) 



Chairman — Sir Findlater Stewart 
Representatives of 
The Quartermaster General 
The Fourth Sea Lord 
The Air Member for Supply and 
The C-in-C Home Forces 
The Minister of War Transport 
The Minister of Home Security 
The Chief of Combined Operations 
The U. S. Army in the United Kingdom 






Medical Service 


Representation on the subcommittees varied. For example/ the Accommodations Subcommittee had repre- 
sentatives from the War Office, the Admiralty/ the Ministries of Ai^ Works and Buildings, and Health, and from 
ETOUSA. The Subcommittee on Supply had representatives from the War Office Director of Army Requirements/ 
the Ministries of Production, Supply, War Transport, and Air, and U. S. representatives. The Transportation Sub- 
committee had representatives from the War Office, the Railway Executive Committee/ the Home Forces/ the War 
Office Director of Movements, the Ministries of War Transport/ Air, and Production, and ETOUSA 



ship between British and American armies 
in matters of discipline, morale, welfare, 
and public relations. 

It was through the office of the Deputy 
Quartermaster General (Liaison) that all 
the Bolero planning papers were issued 
in the next year and a half. General Woot- 
ten issued his first directive on 5 May 
1942, the same day on which the Bolero 
Combined Committee (London) held its 
first meeting. In it he emphasized strongly 
the inseparable relationship between 
Bolero and Roundup, and sounded the 
keynote of the committee's early delibera- 
tions by stressing the need for speed. The 
only purpose of the Bolero build-up was 
to ready an American contingent of 
1,000,000 men to take part in a cross- 
Channel invasion in April 1943. In view 
of the necessity to complete all prepara- 
tions in less than a year, Wootten noted: 
"Every minute counts, therefore there 
must be a rapid equation of problems 
whilst immediate and direct action on de- 
cisions will be taken, whatever the risks, 
without of course disturbing the defense 
of this country as the Main Base." Plan- 
ners were enjoined to "produce the great- 
est possible effort in their contribution tc 
defeat 'Time, 5 so that the goal might be 
met within the allotted twelve months." 31 < 

It was intended, therefore, that the 
Roundup plan would be the governing 
factor in the administrative development 
of the United Kingdom as a base of oper- 
ations, although this objective actually 
proved difficult at first in the absence of a 
detailed operational plan. But the Bolero 
Combined Committee planned to work in 
close consultation with the parallel 
Roundup administrative planning staff, 
and the Deputy Quartermaster General 
immediately asked for an outline of re- 
quirements both in labor and materials 

for the development of Bolero, even 
though he recognized that these could 
only be estimates at this time. He directed 
that basic planning data and information 
be submitted so that a plan for the loca- 
tion of installations and facilities could be 
issued within the next few weeks. In fact, 
General Wootten did not await the receipt 
of planning estimates. As preliminary 
steps he announced that the Southern 
Command would be cleared of British 
troops, and that a census of all possible 
troop accommodations, depot space, and 
possible expansion in southern England 
was already being made. Certain projects 
for base maintenance storage and for per- 
sonnel accommodation were already -be- 
ing studied and carried out. Acutely 
aware of the limited time available, Gen- 
eral Wootten foresaw the necessity of mak- 
ing a large allotment of British civil labor 
to these projects, and, lacking definite 
shipping schedules from the United States, 
he proposed to start preparations at once 
for an initial force of 250,000 which he as- 
sumed would arrive between August and 
December. These preparations included 
projects for troop quarters, the construc- 
tion of four motor vehicle assembly 
plants, and the clearance of storage and 
repair facilities for this force. He then pro- 
posed to deal with accommodations and 
storage for a second increment of 250,000. 
General Wootten attacked the gigantic 
task with vigor and with full comprehen- 
sion of the myriad problems and the meas- 
ures which would have to be taken to 
receive a force of a million men. In the 
first planning paper he raised a multitude 
of questions which he knew must be an- 
swered, and made numerous suggestions 

:it DQMG(L) Paper 1, Administrative Planning 
etc., for Bolero and Roundup 1943, ETO Adm 
Bolero Misc. 



on the most economic use of existing ac- 
commodations, on methods of construc- 
tion, and on the demands which might 
have to be made on the civil population. 32 

Within a few weeks the Bolero Com- 
bined Committee appointed subcommit- 
tees on accommodations, transportation, 
and medical service, drawing on the War 
Office, the Admiralty, U.S. representa- 
tives, and the various Ministries of Health, 
War Transportation, and Works and 
Buildings for representation according to 
interest and specialty. The Combined 
Committee met six times in May and by 
the end of the month had gathered suffi- 
cient information and planning data to en- 
able the Deputy Quartermaster General to 
outline for the first time in some detail the 
problem of receiving and accommodating 
the Bolero force. This outline was known 
as the First Key Plan and was published 
on 31 May 1942. The First Key Plan was 
not intended as a definitive blueprint for 
the reception and accommodation of the 
American forces, the title itself indicating 
the probability of revisions and amend- 
ments. But it served as a basic outline plan 
for the build-up which was to get under 
way immediately. The Combined Com- 
mittee and its subcommittees continued to 
meet and discuss various Bolero prob- 
lems in June and July, and additional 
planning papers and directives were issued 
by the Deputy Quartermaster General 
dealing with specific aspects of reception 
problems. On 25 July the more compre- 
hensive Second Edition of the Bolero 
Key Plan was published. 

Although issued by the British Deputy 
Quartermaster General, the Key Plans 
were confined primarily to a consideration 
of U.S. requirements. Their object was 
stated as follows: "to prepare for the re- 
ception, accommodation and mainte- 

nance of the U.S. Forces in the United 
Kingdom," and "to develop [the United 
Kingdom] as a base from which Round 
Up operations 1943 can be initiated and 
sustained." 33 

The July edition of the Key Plan re- 
iterated that Roundup should be the gov- 
erning factor in developing Britain as a 
base. But in the absence of any indication 
as to how cross- Channel operations were 
to develop, and lacking a detailed opera- 
tional plan, it was accepted that adminis- 
trative plans could be geared to Roundup 
only "on broad lines," and that more de- 
tailed planning must await a fuller defini- 
tion of the type and scope of the operations 
envisaged. One major assumption was 
made at an early date, however, and had 
a profound influence on the work of the 
Bolero Committee. This was the assump- 
tion early in May which determined the 
location of U.S. forces in the United King- 
dom. The committee noted that the gen- 
eral idea of any plan for a cross-Channel 
operation appeared to indicate that U.S. 
troops would be employed on the right 
and British troops on the left, and that 
U.S. forces would therefore embark from 
the southwestern ports when the invasion 
was launched. Since American personnel 
and cargo were to enter the United King- 
dom via the western ports — that is, the 
Clyde, Mersey, and Bristol Channel 
ports — it was logical that they be concen- 
trated in southwestern England, along the 
lines of communications between the two 
groups of ports. Such an arrangement 
would also avoid much of the undesirable 
cross traffic between American and British 
forces at the time of embarkation for the 

33 Ibid. 

33 DQMG(L) Paper 8, Key Plan for the Reception, 
Accommodation, and Maintenance of the U.S. Forces 
(Second Edition), 25 Jul 42, ETO, DQMG(L) Papers. 



cross-Channel movement. 34 Thus the 
main principle governing the distribution 
of U.S. forces in the United Kingdom was 
that they be located primarily with a view 
to their role in Roundup. It was not by ac- 
cident, therefore, that the great concen- 
tration of American ground forces was 
destined at an early date to take place in 
the Southern Command area of the 
United Kingdom, and the early Bolero 
planning dealt almost exclusively with 
that area. 

The principal concern of the London 
Committee and the Deputy Quartermas- 
ter General was to find housing, depot 
space, transportation, and hospitalization 
for the projected Bolero force. The size 
of this force had originally been set at a 
round figure of one million men. In the 
process of breaking down this figure into a 
balanced force of specific types and num- 
bers of units, ETOUSA had by mid-May 
arrived at a troop basis of 1,049,000, and 
this was the working figure used in the 
First Key Plan. 35 This figure underwent 
continuing refinement in the following 
weeks. The Second Edition of the Key 
Plan reflected ETOUSA's upward revi- 
sions in June and used a troop basis of 
1,147,000 men, with eighteen divisions. 36 

The Bolero planners in the United 
Kingdom, like the Washington Com- 
mittee, were well aware of the shipping 
shortage and based their program on the 
assumption that not more than approxi- 
mately 845,000 of the projected 1,147,000 
would arrive in the British Isles by 1 April 
1943. But to establish a force of even that 
size presented an appalling movement 
problem, not only across the Atlantic, but 
from British ports to inland accommoda- 
tions. The London Committee at one of its 
first meetings foresaw the cargo-shipping 
shortage as one of the greatest limitations 

on the movement of so large a force and 
considered some of the "heroic measures 7 ' 
which it thought were called for to reduce 
the problem to manageable dimensions. 
These included stringent economy meas- 
ures, such as a further cutting of the U.K. 
import program, keeping down reserves 
and freight shipments to the lowest level, 
and scaling down vehicle allowances to 
the lowest possible figures. The problem of 
vehicle shipments was given particular at- 
tention because of the huge stowage space 
requirements involved, and the committee 
advocated the shipment of as many unas- 
sembled or partially assembled vehicles as 
possible and the construction of assembly 
plants in the United Kingdom. 37 

The magnitude of the movement prob- 
lem within the United Kingdom is best 
illustrated by the tonnage which it was 
estimated would have to be handled, and 
the number of trains required for port 
clearance. Monthly troop arrivals were 
expected to average almost 100,000 men. 
To move such numbers would require 
about 250 troop trains and 50 baggage 
trains per month. The build-up of equip- 
ment and supplies for these forces was ex- 
pected to require 120 ships per month, 
carrying 450,000 tons, in addition to ap- 
proximately 15,500 vehicles, mostly in 
single and twin unit packs. To clear this 

34 Note by Secy, BGG(L), sub: Ping Factors Which 
Influence Work of Bolero Com, 8 May 42, ETO 
Preinvasion 322. 

3S DQMG(L) Paper 2, 15 May 42, ETO Adm 
Bolero Misc. 

36 DQMG(L) Paper 4 (First Key Plan), 31 May 
42, and Second Edition of Key Plan, 25 Jul 42, ETO 
DQMG(L) Papers. 

37 Thousands of vehicles eventually were shipped 
in single and twin unit packs (SUP and TUP). A 
TUP, for example, consisted of several crates contain- 
ing the partially assembled components of two vehi- 
cles. Note on Cargo Shipping- Involved in Projected 
American Move, BGC(L), n. d. (early May), ETO 
Preinvasion 322. 

tonnage inland from the ports alone would 
require 75,000 freight cars per month, the 
equivalent of 50 special freight trains per 
day. 38 

Reception in itself thus posed a formi- 
dable problem for the British both because 
of the limitations on the intake capacity of 
the ports and because of the added burden 
on the transportation system. Since the re- 
striction on port discharge arose mainly 
from the shortage of dock labor, ETOUSA 
immediately took steps to arrange for the 
shipment of eight port battalions and three 
service battalions by the end of September, 
and for additional port units in succeeding 
months to augment the British labor force. 

The United Kingdom possessed an ex- 
cellent rail network and the system was in 
good condition at the outbreak of the war. 
At that time it consisted of 5 1 ,000 miles of 
track, nearly 20,000 of which constituted 
route mileage, and it possessed nearly 
20,000 locomotives, 43,000 passenger cars, 
and 1,275,000 freight "wagons." 39 Control 
of the railways had been greatly simplified 
by the consolidation of 123 separate com- 
panies into four large systems in 1923. 
These had come under the control of the 
government in 1939 through the Emer- 
gency Powers Defence Act, a control which 

:i8 Second Edition, Key Plan, 25 Jul 42. 
39 Statistical Digest of the War, p. 188. 



BRITISH "GOODS VANS" unloading at a quartermaster depot. 

extended to docks, wharves, and harbors. 
Although the British railways easily with- 
stood the first impact of the war with its in- 
creased demands and enemy bombings, it 
was hard put to accept the added burden 
which the U.S. build-up now entailed. The 
Movement and Transportation Sub-Com- 
mittee of the Combined Committee esti- 
mated that the additional traffic resulting 
from Bolero would require 70 freight 
trains per day. By the summer of 1942 the 
railways were already running 5,000 
special trains for troops and supplies every 
month over and above normal traffic, 40 
and their net ton-mileage eventually sur- 
passed prewar performance by 40 per- 
cent. 41 An example of the remarkable 

degree of control and co-ordination and of 
the density of traffic on the British rail- 
ways in wartime is seen in the scale of 
activity at Clapham Junction, on the 
Southern Railway south of London, which 
saw the passage of more than 2,500 trains 
each day. 42 

The British roads had been suffering 
from a deficiency of rolling stock for some 
time. The shortage of locomotives, in par- 
ticular, had necessitated frequent cancella- 
tions of freight movements in the previous 

40 Facts about British Railways in Wartime (London, 
1944), p. 20. 

Statistics Relating to the War Effort of the United 
Kingdom, p. 30. 

42 British Railways in Wartime, p. 62. 



ENGLISH RAILWAY STATION SCENE with U.S. unit waiting to board train. 

winter (658 trains in one week in March). 
For troop and cargo arrivals under the 
Bolero program alone the Transportation 
Sub-Committee foresaw a need for 400 
additional freight engines, and 50 shunting 
engines to operate on sidings at U.S. 
depots, In June the subcommittee re- 
quested that the United States meet these 
requirements, 43 and orders were subse- 
quently placed for 400 freight engines 
(2-8-0 type) and 15 shunting engines for 
early delivery to the United Kingdom. 
Measures were also taken in Britain to im- 
prove the rail lines of communications by 
providing "war-flat" and "war-well" cars 
to facilitate the handling of American 
tanks and other awkward loads on the 

British railways. 44 In general, British roll- 
ing stock was small by American stand- 
ards, the average "wagon" having only 
about one-sixth the capacity of freight cars 
on the American roads. 

Four major types of accommodations 
were to be found or prepared for the 
Bolero forces: personnel quarters, depot 
and shop space, hospitals, and airfields. 
Personnel accommodations and depot 
space were not immediately serious prob- 
lems. Plans were made for the gradual 
removal of British troops from the South- 

43 Note on Locomotive Position, Movement and 
Transportation Sub-Committee, BGG(L), 6 Jun 42, 
ETO Preinvasion 322, 

44 Second Edition, Key Plan, 25 Jul 42. 



ern Command area, to be completed by 
mid-December, and the housing of U.S. 
forces thus entailed only a minimum of 
new construction at first. Arrangements 
were already initiated in July 1942 to pre- 
pare for approximately 770,000 of the total 
force of 845,000 which was expected to ar- 
rive by 1 April 1943. Except for forces in 
Northern Ireland and air force accom- 
modations to be arranged by the Air Min- 
istry in eastern England, the great bulk of 
the American forces were to occupy in- 
stallations in the Southern Command 
area, with a few going into southern Wales. 
The policy was early established that 
American troops would not be billeted in 
British homes except in emergency. Com- 
bat units were to be organized into divi- 
sional areas of 25,000 each and corps areas 
of 15,000, and service of supply troops 
were to be accommodated in depots, ports, 
and other major installations along the 
lines of communications. By July, four 
corps areas and fifteen divisional areas 
were already mapped out, and in some 
cases the specific locations of higher head- 
quarters were determined. In general, 
availability of both signal communications 
and accommodations governed the loca- 
tion of headquarters. With these consid- 
erations in mind General Wootten in the 
First Key Plan of May had made a tenta- 
tive selection of sites for several corps head- 
quarters, had concluded that the SOS 
headquarters should be established at 
Cheltenham, and had chosen Clifton Col- 
lege, Bristol, as the most suitable location 
for an army headquarters. Both the army 
and SOS locations were eventually utilized 
as recommended. 

ETOUSA had estimated that approxi- 
mately 15,000,000 square Feet of covered 
storage would be required, including 
1,228,760 square feet of workshop space. 

Approximately half of this requirement 
already existed, and a program was im- 
mediately outlined for the expansion of 
existing facilities and for new construction. 
But it was estimated that space would 
have to be turned over to the Americans 
at a minimum rate of one and two-thirds 
million feet per month, and very little new 
construction was expected to become avail- 
able before January 1943. There was likely 
to be an interim period in November and 
December 1942 before new construction 
became available, when there would be a 
serious deficiency of covered storage ac- 
commodation. To overcome this threat- 
ened deficit the planners concluded that 
additional space would simply have to be 
found and requisitioned in the Southern 
Command. 45 U.S. forces also needed facili- 
ties for the storage of 245,000 tons of am- 
munition. This requirement the British 
also expected to meet by turning over cer- 
tain existing depots from which they 
would evacuate their ammunition, and by 
expansion and new construction. In the 
case of currently occupied depots the final 
clearance of ammunition was to be phased 
with the evacuation of British troops, and 
Americans were to replace British depot 
personnel in easy stages so that the British 
could initiate the Americans in the opera- 
tion of the depots. 

The provision of adequate hospitaliza- 
tion called for a larger program of new 
construction than did either personnel or 
depot accommodations. It proved one of 
the more troublesome of the Bolero prob- 
lems, and the construction program re- 
peatedly fell behind schedule. Hospital 
requirements had to be calculated in two 
phases. In the pre-RouNDUP or build-up 
phase provision had to be made for the 

45 Second Edition, Key Plan. 



normal incidence of sickness and would 
have to keep pace with new arrivals. In 
the period of actual operations hospitaliza- 
tion was required for casualties as well as 
normal illness. The number of beds re- 
quired in the build-up period was based 
on a scale of 3 percent of the total force, 
with an additional allowance for colored 
troops owing to their higher rate of illness, 
and an additional provision for the hospi- 
talization of air force casualties. On this 
basis it was figured that the Bolero force 
would need 40,240 beds. Requirements in 
the Roundup period were estimated on a 
scale of 10 percent of the total force en- 
gaged plus the accepted rate for sickness 
of forces remaining in the United King- 
dom. On this basis an additional 50,570 
beds were needed, or a total of 90,810 beds 
for the Bolero force after operations 
began. Before publication of the First Key 
Plan, negotiations with the British for the 
acquisition of hospitals was conducted on 
an informal basis by the theater chief 
surgeon. By May 1942 Colonel Hawley by 
personal arrangements had procured from 
the War Office and the Ministry of Health 
five hospitals with a capacity of some 2,200 
beds. 46 Arrangements were also made in 
May for the transfer to the Americans of 
certain British military hospitals, and in 
addition several hospitals constructed 
under the Emergency Medical Service 
program. The latter had been undertaken 
in preparation for the worst horrors of the 
Nazi air blitz. Thanks to the victory over 
the Luftwaffe not all the emergency hospi- 
tals were needed, and several were now 
offered to the U.S. forces. 47 

The hospital requirement, unlike that 
for personnel and depot accommodations, 
could be met only in small part by the. 
transfer of existing facilities. In the build- 
up period much of the requirement for 

hospital beds had to be met by new con- 
struction. During May the group with 
which the chief surgeon had been meeting 
was formally constituted as the Medical 
Services Sub-Committee of the Bolero 
Combined Committee, and by the end of 
the month the subcommittee had deter- 
mined in general the methods by which 
U.S. hospital requirements would be met. 
Most of the new construction was to take 
the form of hospitals with capacities of 750 
beds, and a few of 1,000 beds. As a rough 
guide it had been accepted that one 750- 
bed hospital should be sited in each divi- 
sional area of about 25,000 men. By the 
time the Second Edition of the Key Plan 
was issued in July, orders had already 
been given for the construction of two 
1,000-bed Nissen hut hospitals and eleven 
750-bed Nissen hospitals, and for the ex- 
pansion and transfer of certain British 
military hospitals. Reconnaissance was 
under way for sites for nine more 750-bed 
hospitals, and British authorities hoped to 
obtain approval for a total of thirty-five of 
this type of installation by mid- August so 
that construction could begin in the 
summer months. 

To ease the great strain on U.K. re- 
sources, the Bolero planners hoped to 
meet the additional requirements of the 

46 Two of these plants — the Churchill Hospital at 
Oxford, and the American Red Cross Harvard Uni- 
versity Field Hospital Unit at Salisbury — had for some 
time been operated by volunteer American units 
which had come to England before the United States 
entered the war. Administrative and Logistical 
History of the Medical Service Com Z ETO, prep by 
Hist Sec, Office, Chief Surgeon, ETO, 1945, MS 
(hereafter cited as ETO Medical Service History), 
Gh. II, pp. 22-24, ETO Adm 581. See also the history 
of the Medical Department now in preparation 
for this series. 

47 Maj. Gen. Paul R. Hawley, The European 
Theater of Operations, May 44, MS, p. 8, ETO Adm 



GENERAL HAWLEY, Chief Surgeon, 
ETOUSA. (Photograph taken in 1945.) 

second phase or Roundup period with a 
minimum of new construction. The Dep- 
uty Quartermaster General estimated that 
the 54,000-bed program, if provided by 
new construction, would cost about $40,- 
000,000, which represented one fifth of the 
entire U.K. construction program in terms 
of labor and materials. A proposal was 
therefore made to use hutted camps, bar- 
racks, and requisitioned buildings to fill 
the need, any deficiency to be made up in 
the form of tented hospitals. Colonel Haw- 
ley objected strongly to this feature of the 
First Key Plan, insisting that neither 
hutted nor tented camps would be suit- 
able. Faced with a desperate shortage of 
labor and materials, however, there was 
litUe choice but to adopt the basic idea be- 
hind the proposal. Before publication of 

the July plan, agreement was reached on 
the use of two types of military camps — 
the militia camp and the conversion 
camp— which were to be converted to hos- 
pitals after the departure of units for the 
cross-Channel operation. The militia 
camps were already in existence and, with 
the addition of operating rooms, clinics, 
and laboratories, could be rapidly con- 
verted when the troops moved out. Repre- 
sentatives of ETOUSA proceeded to rec- 
onnoiter all existing camps and barracks 
with a view to conversion after Roundup 
was launched, and found a good number 
of them suitable for this purpose. It was 
broadly estimated that 25,000 beds could 
be provided in this way. The conversion 
camp was essentially the same type of in- 
stallation — that is, an army barracks — but 
was not yet built, and could therefore be 
designed with the express intention of con- 
version after D Day by certain additions. 
Ten of the 1,250-man camps being built in 
southern England accordingly were laid 
out to make them readily convertible to 
hospitals of 750 beds each, which would 
provide an additional 7,500 beds. A total 
of some 32,500 beds was to be provided by 
conversions after D Day. To make up the 
remaining deficit of 1 8,000 beds the 
Bolero planners had to project new con- 
struction. In July plans were under way to 
provide 10,000 of these beds by building 
ten 1,000-bed Nissen hospitals. 48 

Financing the above construction pro- 
gram was another of the earliest hurdles to 
be surmounted, and the London Commit- 
tee pressed for quick approval of a block 
grant of £50,000,000 ($200,000,000), well 
aware that such an estimate could only be 
tentative at the time. It is of interest to 

48 Ibid., pp. 9-10; ETO Medical Service History, 
Gh. II, pp. 29-30, 33-34; Second Edition, Key Plan. 



record, however, that the construction 
program eventually was carried out at al- 
most precisely that cost. 49 

The requirements described above were 
the responsibility of the War Office and 
were outlined in the Key Plan. Independ- 
ent of this program, and involving more 
than twice as great an expenditure of 
funds, was that undertaken by the Air 
Ministry to provide accommodations for 
the bulk of the U.S. air forces and the air- 
fields they required. Air force plans under- 
went several revisions in the summer of 
1942. Originally calling for only 23 air- 
fields and personnel accommodations for 
36,300, the program was momentarily ex- 
panded in May to 153 airfields in addition 
to workshop and depot facilities. In July 
the air force program achieved relative 
stability with stated requirements of 98 
airfields, 4,000,000 square feet of storage 
space, 3 repair depots, 26 headquarters 
installations, and personnel accommoda- 
tions for 240,000. 5 ° 

By far the largest single task faced by 
the Bolero planners was that of construc- 
tion. Although the U.S. forces were to ac- 
quire many of the facilities they needed by 
taking over British installations, a substan- 
tial program of new construction could not 
be avoided. Because of the ever- worsening 
shortage of labor it was impossible for Brit- 
ish civil agencies to carry the program to 
completion unaided. Foreseeing the diffi- 
culty the Bolero planners specified that 
the military services of both Britain and 
the United States would assist the British 
works agencies. Construction was to be 
carried out by both British military labor 
or civil contract under the supervision of 
the Royal Engineer Works Services Staff, 
through the agency of the Ministry of 
Works and Planning, and by U.S. engi- 

neer troops in co-operation with the Royal 
Engineers. 51 

While the provision of accommodations 
was undoubtedly the foremost preoccupa- 
tion and worry of the Bolero planners, 
the first Key Plans of May and July 1942 
were remarkably comprehensive in their 
anticipation of other problems attending 
the reception of American forces. The 
Bolero planners foresaw that U.S. troops, 
coming into a strange land, would be "as 
ignorant of our institutions and way of life 
as the people among whom they will be 
living are of all things American," and 
recognized that one of their most urgent 
tasks was "to educate each side so that 
both host and guest may be conditioned to 
each other." 52 They also foresaw that U.S. 
forces initially would be unavoidably de- 
pendent on the British for many services, 
and the Deputy Quartermaster General 
went to great lengths to insure that the ar- 
rival of American troops would be as free 
of discomfort as possible. Reception par- 
ties were to be formed to meet new arrivals 
and to minister to all their immediate 
needs, including such items as hot meals, 
canteen supplies, transportation, training 
in the use of British mess equipment, and 
all the normal barracks services. Key Brit- 
ish personnel were to remain in existing 

AU The Bolero Project, extract monograph prep by 
Q, (Ops) Hist, War Office, mimeo, OGMH; Maj. 
Gen. A. G. B. Buchanan, "Bolero," The Royal Engi- 
neers Journal, LIX (September, 1945), 188. 

50 Construction in the United Kingdom, prep by 
Hist Sec ETOUSA, Oct 44, MS, p. 23, ETO Adm- 
506; Air Force Construction (United Kingdom), Hist 
Rpt 6, Corps of Engrs ETO, prep by Ln Sec, Int Div, 
OCofE ETO, Aug 45, MS, p. 7, ETO Adm. 

51 For greater detail on the construction program 
see the history of the Corps of Engineers now in prep- 
aration for this series. 

52 Note by Chm, BCC(L), sub: Problems Affecting 
Civil Administration, 13 May 42, ETO Preinvasion 



depots, wherever possible, for necessary 
operation, and British workshops were to 
be handed over as going concerns. British 
Navy Army Air Force Institute (NAAFI) 
workers were to continue to run existing 
canteens in accommodations occupied by 
U.S. troops until American post exchanges 
were in a position to take over. In short, 
arrangements were made to provide all re- 
quirements for daily maintenance, includ- 
ing rations, water, light, fuel, cooking 
facilities, hospitalization, and dental care, 
and, to include a more somber aspect, 
even cemetery space. The guiding prin- 
ciple was to give all possible aid to Amer- 
ican units at the outset and to train them 
so that they would as soon as possible as- 
sume full responsibility for their own 
maintenance. 53 

The Bolero planners envisaged a grad- 
ual relinquishment by the British of mili- 
tary responsibilities and activities in the 
Southern Command area. On the opera- 
tional side it was specified that the existing 
chain of command and its parallel oper- 
ational administrative organization would 
remain in being until the immediate 
threat of a German invasion had receded, 
and until American forces were in a posi- 
tion to assume operational responsibility. 
On the administrative side the British 
command was to pass through two phases: 
the planning and constructional phase, 
which included the reception of increasing 
numbers of U.S. troops and responsibility 
for all aspects of their daily maintenance; 
and a final phase in which operational 
command had passed to the Americans, 
and in which the British would retain re- 
sponsibility for only residual functions to- 
ward American troops and the control and 
maintenance of the existing Home Guard 
organization and a small number of British 

The implementation of the Key Plans 
required the closest possible co-ordination 
between U.S. and British agencies. U.S. 
staffs had to confirm plans for the locations 
of division and corps areas, and specify 
breakdown of storage and workshop re- 
quirements; the British Southern Com- 
mand, in collaboration with U.S. officials, 
had to allocate space in accordance with 
American needs, prepare projects for con- 
struction, and select sites for hospitals. 
British administrative staffs were therefore 
to be strengthened in the planning and 
constructional phase (the next several 
months), and the Key Plans provided for 
an enlarged machinery of liaison between 
the U.S. and British forces. In addition to 
the liaison between the Deputy Quarter- 
master General and ETOUSA, a liaison 
officer was to be appointed from the for- 
mer's staff to visit SOS headquarters each 
day. U.S. Army liaison officers were to be 
attached to War Office branches as soon 
as more officers were available for such 
duty. In the meantime the War Office at- 
tached officers to Headquarters, SOS. At 
the next lower level a Q (Liaison) branch 
was established at Southern Command 
headquarters, eight U.S. officers were at- 
tached to the staff of Southern Command, 
and U.S. officers were also to be attached 
to the headquarters of the British districts 
(subdivisions of Southern Command.) 54 

To handle the tremendous administra- 
tive arrangements entailed by the build- 
up in the United Kingdom and to ensure 
that the preparations visualized in the 
Key Plan could be made effective, the 
London Combined Committee felt it im- 

™ DQMG(L) Paper 5, Movement of U.S. Units 
from Ports of Disembarkation, 1 Jun 42, ETO Adm 
50 Bolero. 

54 DQMG(L) Paper 6, 2 Juh 42, ETO DQMG(L) 
Papers; Second Edition, Key Plan. 



perative that U.S. service units should ar- 
rive in correct proportions ahead of com- 
bat formations. U.S. units were needed not 
only to assist in the construction or expan- 
sion of installations and accommodations, 
but also to receive and build up mainte- 
nance and reserve supplies and equip- 
ment, to operate depots, and to provide 
local antiaircraft protection for the main 
depots and installations. 55 The Bolero 
planners also hoped that every effort 
would be made in the United States to dis- 
patch units in accordance with the priority 
lists, but there were difficulties in the way. 
Bulk sailing figures were not likely to be 
known until shortly before convoys left the 
United States, and the breakdown of these 
bulk figures, into individual units might 
not be available until sometime after the 
convoy had actually sailed. The lack of 
advance information on these sailings was 
regarded as a major difficulty in arranging 
quarters. By late June, however, the Lon- 
don Committee was satisfied that sufficient 
accommodations were being made avail- 
able in bulk, and reception arrangements 
could be made at fairly short notice for the 
assignments of specific units to specific ac- 
commodations once the units were identi- 
fied. 56 U.S. forces in the United Kingdom 
at the end of June had a strength of 
54,845. At the end of July the Bolero 
build-up had not yet achieved any mo- 
mentum. Shipments were still proceeding 
haltingly and U.S. forces in the United 
Kingdom at the end of the month num- 
bered only 81,273. 

As indicated earlier, the Bolero plan 
was an inseparable part of the concept of 
a cross-Channel invasion. The Key Plans 
pointed toward such an operation in the 
spring of 1943, and assumed that the 
build-up of U.S. forces in the United 
Kingdom would be carried out with the 

greatest possible speed. Concurrent with 
the Bolero preparations planning had 
also been initiated on both the operational 
and logistical aspects of Roundup. The 
first meeting of the RouNDUP^administra- 
tive officers took place within a few days of 
the organization of the Bolero Combined 
Committee, early in May. In the absence 
of a firm operational plan much of the 
logistical planning was at first highly hy- 
pothetical. Nevertheless, in mid-June the 
Roundup administrative planners issued 
the first comprehensive appreciation of 
administrative problems in connection 
with major operations on the Continent, 
dealing with such matters as maintenance 
over beaches, the condition of continental 
ports, and inland transportation. The de- 
liberations of the first two months were 
carried on with almost no representation 
from the U.S. Services of Supply, for the 
SOS was then in its earliest stages of or- 
ganization. Both General Eisenhower and 
General Lee appreciated the need for co- 
ordination of Roundup logistical planning 
with Bolero, particularly with regard to 
procurement planning, and early in July 
took steps to have SOS officers placed on 
the Roundup Administrative Planning 
Staff so that they could participate in the 
decisions which vitally affected their own 
planning. The work of the staff by this 
time had been divided among forty com- 
mittees which had been formed to study 
the many administrative aspects of a cross- 
Channel operation. 57 Significant prelimi- 
nary steps had thus been taken by mid- 
July to prepare for a continental invasion. 

55 DQMG(L) Paper 2, 15 May 42, ETO Adm 50 

-r,<i Rpt by Secy, BCC(L), on Reception Arrange- 
ments, 20 Jun 42, with annexes, ETO Preinvasion 

57 Progress Rpt 2, RAP Stf, 26 Jun 42; RAP Survey 
of Administrative Problems in Connection with Major 



(3) The SOS Organizes, June-July 1942 

At the height of the U.S. build -up in the 
United Kingdom, the American uniform 
was to be evident in every corner of the 
land, American ammunition and other 
supplies and equipment were to be stacked 
along every road, and American troops 
were to occupy more than 100,000 build- 
ings, either newly built or requisitioned, 
and ranging from small Nissen huts and 
cottages to sprawling hangars, workshops, 
and assembly plants, in more than 1,100 
cities and villages. 

There was little visible evidence in June 
1942 to portend the future scale of Amer- 
ican activity in the United Kingdom. At 
the time the European theater was acti- 
vated there were fewer than 35,000 Amer- 
ican troops in the British Isles, most of 
them ground force units assigned to the V 
Corps in Northern Ireland. In England 
the first stirrings of American activity cen- 
tered around the small air force contingent 
and in the theater headquarters in Lon- 
don. There were at this time only about 
2,000 air force troops in England, hardly 
more than an advance echelon of the VIII 
Bomber Command. This small force was 
in the process of taking over the first air- 
fields in the Huntingdon area and prepar- 
ing to utilize the first big depot and repair 
installation at Burtonwood. Londoners 
were of course already familiar with the 
sight of Americans in Grosvenor Square, 
and the U.S. headquarters was to grow 
rapidly after the formation of ETOUSA. 

As the governing metropolis of the 
United Kingdom and the seat of the War 

Operations on the Continent, 1 7 Jun 42; and GHQ 
Home Forces Paper, sub: Assumptions for RAP, 25 
Jul 42. All in SOS ETO RAP 1942-43. Ltr, Eisen- 
hower to Lee, 10 Jun 42, sub: RAP Ping, and 1st Ind, 
Lee to CG ETO, 22 Jul 42, SOS ETO AG 381 Plan. 

Office, London naturally became a center 
of American activity. That this activity 
should center about Grosvenor Square 
arose primarily from the fact that the work 
of the Special Observers had brought 
them near the American Erribassy and the 
military attache with whom ^hey worked 
closely. Situated in the heart of Mayfair, 
Grosvenor Square was one of the exclusive 
residential areas in London. Surrounding 
it were the multistoried town houses and 
luxury flats which had provided the set- 
ting for the dinners and balls of the Lon- 
don social season. In the center was a 
private park of hedges and tall trees, once 
enclosed by an iron fence which had since 
disappeared into the scrap heap of war. 
From behind the dense shrubbery there 
now arose each evening a barrage balloon 
which swayed gently back and forth in the 
black of the London night. 

Most of the modern buildings in Gros- 
venor Square were untouched by the blitz, 
but many were vacant, their former occu- 
pants having moved to the country. Be- 
ginning with the lease of No. 18-20 to 
SPOBS in May 1941, more and more of 
the apartments were taken over by the 
Americans. Stripped of their furnishings 
they quickly lost their glitter and acquired 
the utilitarian appearance of an army in- 
stallation. Grosvenor Square was soon to 
be transformed into a bit of America, and 
the good humor with which Londoners re- 
ceived the increasing evidence of Amer- 
ican "occupation" was expressed in the 
parody of a popular song: "An English- 
man Spoke in Grosvenor Square." 

The first housekeeping units had ar- 
rived in London in March, a dispensary 
was opened, and the first enlisted billet 
was established at the old Hotel Splendide 
at 100 Piccadilly. Aside from this halting 
expansion of the new headquarters and 



the beginnings of activity at'a few airfields, 
there were as yet no operating services and 
no depots prepared to receive large ship- 
ments of either cargo or troop units. Until 
April 1942 there was not even a single 
army storage point in London. The scale 
of supply operations in the London area is 
illustrated by the fact that such supplies as 
were required in the headquarters were 
received and handled in a room on the 
fourth floor of No. 20 Grosvenor. That 
month a small warehouse was opened in 
the former showrooms of the Austin Motor 
Company on Oxford Street, and before 
long it was necessary to turn over all req- 
uisitions to a new depot in the East End. 
In the absence of U.S. shipments to fill im- 
mediate needs, meanwhile, there was a 
great scramble to obtain supplies and serv- 
ices in the British market, and consider- 
able confusion was to result from the initial 
lack of reciprocal aid policy on such local 

The gigantic task of organizing the 
Services of Supply was undertaken by 
General Lee upon his arrival in England 
late in May 1942. There were three major 
tasks to be carried out in fulfilling the mis- 
sion of the SOS: organizing the reception 
of troops and cargo in the port areas, 
establishing a depot system for the storage 
and distribution of supplies, and initiating 
the construction program, particularly of 
airfields. Transforming the SOS into an 
operating organization, however, pre- 
sented innumerable problems which first 
required solution. 

Within twenty-four hours of his arrival 
in the United Kingdom, General Lee was 
busily engaged in a series of conferences, 
first with General Ghaney, which led to a 
definition of the responsibilities and au- 
thority of the SOS (discussed in Chapter 
I), and then with members of the Bolero 

Committee at Norfolk House, London, 
where he learned of the plans British offi- 
cers had already made for the accommo- 
dation of the projected American force. 
During the next several weeks General 
Lee spent much of his time inspecting 
ports, depots, and other accommodations 
offered by the British. On the first of these 
reconnaissance trips he was accompanied 
by General Somervell, Brig. Gen. Charles 
P. Gross, the Chief of Transportation, War 
Department SOS, and Brig. Gen. LeRoy 
Lutes, Chief of Operations of the SOS in 
the War Department, who had followed 
Lee to England late in May. The special 
train of General Sir Bernard Paget, com- 
mander of British Home Forces, wg,s put 
at the disposal of the party to tour port in- 
stallations at Avonmouth, Barry, Liver- 
pool, Manchester, Glasgow, and Gourock. 
On the basis of the survey, General Somer- 
vell reported to General Marshall his 
opinion that administration and supply 
arrangements for the reception and ac- 
commodation of American troops could 
be worked out satisfactorily, although he 
recognized tremendous problems for the 
SOS, and foresaw particular difficulties in 
rail transportation and airfield construc- 
tion. General Somervell at this time 
stressed the importance of the early com- 
pletion of operational plans so that supply 
and administrative planning could get 
under way. This was to become a familiar 
and oft-repeated request from the Services 
of Supply. 58 General Lee later took mem- 
bers of his own staff on a reconnaissance of 
possible port and depot areas in southern 
England, including Bristol, Plymouth, 
Exeter, Taunton, Warminster, Thatcham, 
and Salisbury, all of which later became 

58 Tendons of an Army, prep by Hist Sec ETO, 
MS, pp. 12-13, ETO Adm 53 1 . 



key installations in the SOS network of 

Meanwhile General Lee also made 
progress in the organization of the SOS 
staff which was announced at the end of 
June. It included Brig. Gen. Thomas B. 
Larkin as chief of staff, Lt. Col. Ewart G. 
Plank as deputy chief of staff, Col. Murray 
M. Montgomery as G-l, Col. Gustav B. 
Guenther as G-2, Col. Walter G. Layman 
as G-3, Col. Paul T Baker as G-4, Lt. 
Col. Orlando C. Mood as Chief, Require- 
ments Branch, and Col. Douglas C. 
MacKeachie as Chief, Procurement 

The services were at first divided into 
operating and administrative, the former 
including the normal supply services un- 
der the supervision of the G-4, the latter 
the more purely administrative services 
under the Chief of Administrative Serv- 
ices. The incumbents of the operating 
services were the following: Col. Everett S. 
Hughes, Chief Ordnance Officer; Brig. 
Gen. Robert M. Littlejohn, Chief Quar- 
termaster; Brig. Gen. William S. Rum- 
bough, Chief Signal Officer; Brig. Gen. 
Donald A. Davison, Chief Engineer; Col. 
Edward Montgomery, Chief of Chemical 
Warfare Service; Col. Paul R. Hawley, 
Chief Surgeon; Col. Charles O. Thrasher, 
Chief, General Depot Service; Col. Frank 
S. Ross, Chief, Transportation Service. 

Brig. Gen. Claude M. Thiele was 
named Chief of Administrative Services, 
which included the following officers: Col. 
Roscoe C. Batson, Inspector General; Lt. 
Col. William G. Stephenson, Headquar- 
ters Commandant; Col. Alexander M. 
Weyand, Provost Marshal; Col. Adam 
Richmond, Judge Advocate; Col. Victor 
V. Taylor, Adjutant General; Col, Nicho- 
las H. Cobbs, Chief Finance Officer; Col. 
James L. Blakeney, Senior Chaplain; Lt. 

Col. George E. Ramey, Chief of Special 
Services; Col. Edmund M. Barnum, ChieJ 
of Army Exchange Service. In addition, 
Col. Ray A. Dunn was named Air Force 
Liaison Officer, and Col. Clarence E. 
Brand was designated President of the 
Claims Commission, both on the SOS 

This organization within the SOS re- 
flected very closely the organization of the 
SOS in the War Department, the memo- 
randum outlining the organization of the 
administrative services following virtually 
word for word a similar memorandum is- 
sued by the SOS in the zone of interior. 
Within two months, however, several 
changes were announced and no further 
mention was made of the division into op- 
erating and administrative services. The 
general division of function continued, 
with the supply or operating services com- 
ing under the supervision of the G-4, and 
the administrative services passing to the 
province of the G-l, who later came to be 
known as the Chief of Administration. In 
general, the operating services included 
those whose chiefs were also members of 
the theater special staff and thus served in 
a dual capacity, maintaining senior repre- 
sentatives at Headquarters, ETOUSA. 
The administrative services were those in 
which counterparts were named at Head- 
quarters, ETOUSA, and in which the divi- 
sion of authority became very troublesome. 
Even those staff sections which General 
Eisenhower had decreed should be placed 
under ETOUSA— that of the provost 
marshal for example — were split when the 
SOS moved to Cheltenham. ETOUSA 
and SOS each established its own adjutant 
general, inspector general, provost mar- 
shal, and other special staff officers. The 
inevitable result was an overlapping of 
function and a conflict over jurisdiction. 



(Chart 3) p i varying degrees this tendency 
also carried over into the supply services, 
where the senior representatives at theater 
headquarters were inclined to develop 
separate sections and encroach on the 
functions of the SOS. 

Following the organizational pattern of 
the War Department SOS, the newly 
founded SOS also included a General 
Depot Service as one of the operating 
agencies. Colonel Thrasher was named as 
its first chief, and the service was an- 
nounced as an ETOUSA special staff sec- 
tion operating under the SOS. Shortly 
thereafter, however, again in line with 
similar War Department action, the func- 
tions of the General Depot Service were 
turned over to the chief quartermaster. 
The operation of the depots was eventually 
shared by the chiefs of services and the 
base sections which were soon to be 
formed. The Army Exchange Service, 
likewise established as a special staff sec- 
tion of ETOUSA and operated by the 
SOS, also ceased to be a special staff sec- 
tion and was placed under the chief 

From the very beginning it was estab- 
lished policy in ETOUSA that the United 
States would purchase as many of its sup- 
plies as possible in the United Kingdom in 
order to save shipping space. Local pro- 
curement was therefore destined to be an 
important function, and to handle such 
matters a General Purchasing Board and 
a Board of Contracts and Adjustments 
were created in June, both of them headed 
by a General Purchasing Agent. Colonel 
MacKeachie, former vice-president of the 
Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company 
and Director of Purchases for the War 
Production Board, had been brought to 
the United Kingdom by General Lee to 
fill this position. 

Among the other agencies created dur- 
ing the summer of 1942 were a Claims 
Service, the Area Petroleum Board, and 
an agency to operate training centers and 
officer candidate schools. ETOUSA had 
stipulated that the SOS would be respon- 
sible for the "adjudication and settlement 
of all claims and administration of the 
United States Claims Commission" for the 
theater. Here still another facet of the 
ever-present problem on the division of 
authority was to be revealed. The fact that 
the U.S, Congress had provided that 
claims be settled by a commission ap- 
pointed by the Secretary of War compli- 
cated matters. Such a claims commission 
had been appointed directly by the War 
Department and was already working in 
close co-operation with British authorities. 
The SOS meanwhile had organized a 
Claims Service to investigate claims and 
report on them to the Claims Commission, 
which alone had the authority to settle 
them. General Lee hoped to resolve this 
division by consolidating the two agencies 
and bringing them under the SOS. In- 
stead a circular was published strictly de- 
lineating their respective jurisdictions and 
authority, placing the operation of the in- 
vestigating agencies under the Claims 
Service of the SOS, and the actual settle- 
ment of claims under the Claims Com- 

Another field in which special or un- 
usual arrangements were necessary was 
the handling of petroleum products, or 
POL. 59 While the procurement, storage, 
and issue of fuel and oil was a quartermas- 
ter responsibility, there was need for an 
over-all agency to co-ordinate the needs of 
the Army, Navy, and Air Forces in the 

5H The Americans readily adopted the shorter Brit- 
ish term POL, an abbreviation for petrol (gasoline), 
oil, and lubricants. 



theater. Such an agency, known as the 
Area Petroleum Board, was created in 
September as the theater counterpart of 
the Army-Navy Petroleum Board, recently 
established in Washington. General Lee 
served as head of the joint board as Area 
Petroleum Officer, and was made respon- 
sible for the co-ordination of all U.S. fuel 
requirements with the British. The-routine 
functions of the Area Petroleum Office 
were actually carried out by an assistant, 
who organized what eventually came to 
be known as the Area Petroleum Service. 
The Area Petroleum Office did not requi- 
sition directly on the Army-Navy Petro- 
leum Board in Washington, but rather on 
British authorities. All petroleum prod- 
ucts, regardless of origin, were held in a 
common pool in British storage facilities, 
all gasoline coming from U.S. sources be- 
ing counted as lend-lease aid. Withdraw- 
als from this pool for U.S. forces were then 
recorded as reverse lend-lease. 60 

The SOS was also given the responsi- 
bility for the operation of training centers 
and officer candidate schools. Accordingly 
it established a center for officer candidate 
and specialists schools at Shrivenham, 
southwest of Oxford, in August. Col. 
Walter G. Layman became the first com- 
mandant of the center, and the schools 
began to operate in September. Later in 
the year the Supply Specialists School and 
the Officer Candidate School were com- 
bined to form the American School Center. 
While administered by the SOS, the 
American School Center was open to 
students from all commands under a quota 

The above indicates in general outline 
the staff organization of the SOS and the 
scope of its responsibilities. As indicated 
earlier, the SOS had hardly been given 
the complete control of supply and admin- 

istration intended by War Department 
directive, and the division of function and 
splitting of staffs resulted in an unsatis- 
factory arrangement, which became in- 
creasingly evident as the SOS became an 
operating organization in the following 
months. 61 

Another problem with which General 
Lee concerned himself in the first weeks 
after his arrival in England was that of 
finding a suitable location for the newly 
forming SOS headquarters. Office space 
had been acquired initially in a former 
apartment building at No. 1 Great Cum- 
berland Place in London, but it was clear 
that this space would be inadequate to 
house the entire headquarters, and it was 
desirable that the SOS should be more 
centrally located, preferably in southern 
England where the bulk of the American 
troops and installations were to be located. 
General Lee therefore immediately in- 
structed General Thiele, his Chief of 
Administrative Services, to conduct a 
reconnaissance for such a headquarters 
location. Before the end of May General 
Thiele had surveyed possible accommoda- 
tions in the London area and the War 
Office installations at Cheltenham, about 
ninety miles northwest of London. The 
latter was already under consideration by 
the Deputy Quartermaster General and 
was suggested in the First Key Plan as a 
suitable location. 

Cheltenham was a fairly modern city of 
about 50,000. It had grown up around the 
Pittville mineral springs, rivaled Bath as a 
spa and holiday resort, and was a popular 
place of retirement for civil servants and 
army officers. Cheltenham's adaptability 
for use as a military headquarters resulted 

Gt) Interv with Col Elmer E. Barnes (Chief Petro- 
leum Officer, ETO, in 1944), 20 Feb 50, OGMH. 
61 Organization and Command, I, 79-105. 



from the existence of two groups of build- 
ings, one at Benhall Farm on the Glouces- 
ter Road southwest, and the other at 
Oakley Farm to the northeast. These 
temporary one-story blocks of offices had 
been erected by the British War Office 
and were intended as an evacuation point 
in the event that invasion or bombing 
made it impossible to remain in London. 
The members of the War Office adminis- 
trative staff that occupied the buildings at 
this time were willing to return to London 
where the entire establishment could be in 
one place. The Cheltenham plant pro- 
vided about 500,000 square feet of office 
space and had one obvious advantage 
over other sites in that it required no con- 
version. It had an adequate rail and road 
network, and signal communications facil- 
ities which could be expanded. However, 
it was ninety miles from London, the 
center of British and American planning 
groups, and nearer the western than the 
southern coast of England, and it had 
other disadvantages which were to be 
revealed later. 

General Lee and his chief of staff in- 
spected the Cheltenham facilities in the 
first week of June, and after conferences 
with War Office officials decided to estab- 
lish the SOS headquarters there. Later in 
the month a commandant was named for 
the new headquarters, and plans were 
rushed to accomplish the move as quickly 
as possible. Officer and enlisted personnel 
for the headquarters command had been 
organized in the United States and upon 
arrival in England went directly to Chel- 
tenham on 12 July. The shipment of sup- 
plies and equipment from London began 
on the 18th, and two days later a special 
train carried most of the London personnel 
to their new home. While the move was 
intended to be secret, rumors had it on the 

day before that Lord Haw Haw, a rene- 
gade Englishman whose regular broad- 
casts in the service of Nazism provided an 
amusing diversion to the British, had 
already promised a visit by the German 
Air Force, and when the special train ac- 
tually left Paddington Station it was 
plastered with signs reading "U.S. Forces 
to Cheltenham." General Lee and the 
key members of his staff remained in 
London a few days for conferences and 
made the transfer to the new headquarters 
on 25 July. Some of the SOS staff re- 
mained in London and were housed in the 
annex of Selfridge's department store, on 
Duke Street just off Oxford. 

The establishment of the SOS in its new 
location was not accomplished witriout 
discomfort or dissatisfaction, for some of 
the disadvantages of the area quickly 
became apparent. As a vacation spot 
Cheltenham had many hotels, some of 
which retained their civilian staffs and 
served as officers' quarters. But barracks 
for enlisted men were almost nonexistent, 
and the men had to be quartered in tented 
camps around the town and at the near-by 
Prestbury Park Race Course. Those who 
drew the grandstand, stables, and other 
buildings of the race track as billets were 
the more fortunate, and as one man (un- 
doubtedly a Kentuckian) noted philo- 
sophically to his stable mate, if the com- 
modious box stall they occupied was good 
enough for a £10,000 thoroughbred, a 
$10,000 GI shouldn't complain. The tent 
camps were eventually replaced by hut- 
ments, but it took considerable time and 
work to make the area livable and to 
eliminate the early confusions. The War 
Office had made few improvements, and 
the autumn rains created seas of mud. For 
many weeks the War Office continued to 
operate the messes, and only British rations 



were available. When an enemy plane 
dropped several bombs near the railway 
station one morning, someone tartly com- 
mented that the Germans weren't aiming 
at the aircraft factory at nearby Gloucester, 
but at the confusion factory at Benhall 
Farm. 62 

The establishment of the SOS entailed 
a great deal more than the selection of a 
staff and headquarters facilities. The real 
raison d'etre of the SOS was that it become 
an operating concern, carrying out the 
various functions of procuring, transport- 
ing, storing, issuing, and so on. Its func- 
tional organization was represented by the 
chiefs of services, who, in addition to serv- 
ing in an advisory capacity as members of 
the theater commander's special staff, 
supervised the operations of their respec- 
tive services in the SOS. The chief quarter- 
master, for example, provided technical 
supervision over the operation of depots. 
The direct control of such operations and 
the command of troop units involved, 
however, was decentralized and, with 
certain exceptions (notably the Trans- 
portation Corps operation of the railways), 
was exercised through the base section 

In addition to the functional organiza- 
tion, the SOS also developed a territorial 
organization through which service activi- 
ties were actually carried out. This or- 
ganization in the United Kingdom paral- 
leled closely that of the United States, 
where supply and administration were also 
organized into area commands known as 
corps areas (later as service commands). 
In General Lee's concept, the base sections 
were to be small replicas of the SOS, con- 
taining representatives of all the staff sec- 
tions and services in an organization which 
would serve as the instrumentality through 
which SOS policies and plans would be 

carried out in given geographical areas. 
General Lee met some opposition from the 
theater staff in insisting on this organiza- 
tional scheme, but he was convinced that 
it was both feasible and necessary and suc- 
ceeded in carrying it out in the summer of 

One base section already existed, and 
consequently received first consideration 
for incorporation into the new system. 
Northern Ireland Base Command had 
been created to serve as an administrative 
command for V Corps, or USANIF, and 
the service troops of the base command 
were in fact part of V Corps. As the highest 
ground force headquarters in the theater, 
and in view of its mission in the defense of 
Northern Ireland, USANIF had been ac- 
corded a relatively high degree of self- 
sufficiency and independence, General 
Hartle therefore opposed transferring the 
base command to the control of the SOS. 
But he was overruled, and Northern 
Ireland Base Command was incorporated 
into the SOS. 

The announcement of the regional or- 
ganization of the SOS in the United King- 
dom was made on 20 July. It provided for 
four base sections: the Northern Ireland 
Base Section under Brig. Gen. Leroy P. 
Collins, with headquarters at Belfast; the 
Western Base Section under General 
Davison, with headquarters at Chester, in 
Cheshire; the Eastern Base Section under 
Col. Cecil R. Moore, with headquarters at 
Watford, Hertfordshire; and the Southern 
Base Section under Colonel Thrasher, with 
headquarters at Wilton, near Salisbury. 
The boundaries of the sections corre- 
sponded roughly to those of the British ad- 
ministrative and defense commands. 

62 Tendons of an Army, pp. • 3-4, 13-15; Robert 
Healey, personal memoir, MS (hereafter cited as 
Healey Memoir), pp. 22-23, ETO Adm 510. 




Northern Ireland Base Section included 
all of Northern Ireland; Western Base Sec- 
tion included the Scottish and Western 
Commands of the British Home Forces; 
Eastern Base Section covered the British 
Eastern and Northern Commands; and 
Southern Base Section covered the British 
Southern and Southeastern Commands, 
and temporarily also included the Bristol 
Channel ports. Except for the later in- 
clusion of the London Base Command, the 
general order of 20 July completed the 
basi c reg ional organization of the SOS. 
\(Map2)\ _ 

At this time the base sections were mere 
skeleton organizations and relied heavily 
on the British for many services in the 
early months. As they acquired troops and 
gradually began to flesh out and assume 
heavier responsibilities, they tended to de- 
velop along different lines in accordance 
with the varying types of activity in each. 
Because it had been activated earlier than 
the others and troops had been present for 
the past six months, the Northern Ireland 
Base was naturally further advanced. In 
1942 it was primarily concerned with 
processing troops moving to England for 
participation in the North African inva- 
sion. Western Base Section included the 
mountainous districts of western England 
and Wales. With the great ports of western 
England in its bounds, it acted as an inter- 
mediary, receiving the hundreds of thou- 
sands of troops that were to pour into the 
rest of the United Kingdom. Later it was 
destined to handle vast tonnages of cargo 
and operate some of the great depots. 
Eastern Base Section, because of its rela- 
tive flatness and its proximity to Germany, 
was the obvious location for the airfields 
and became primarily an air force base. 
The Southern Base Section area, largely 
rolling terrain, but with rugged sections in 

Devon and Cornwall, contained in its 
untilled areas the best training ground, in- 
cluding British tank and artillery ranges. 
Its shore line provided excellent training 
sites for amphibious assault exercises. 
Southern Base Section eventually became 
the great concentration and marshaling 
area for the ground forces and was the 
springboard for the cross-Channel opera- 

At the very start the base sections, laid 
out as they were to include one or two of 
the British home commands, were or- 
ganized to work closely with the British, 
with liaison firmly established at that 
level. The British had built up a large 
static military establishment which was 
prepared to furnish many services to the 
American Army* It was basic policy from 
the beginning, therefore, to avoid dupli- 
cating services which could be obtained 
from the British, and the base sections 
were the logical link with facilities in the 
British commands. 

The base sections were organized on the 
concept of "centralized control and decen- 
tralized operation." With certain excep- 
tions the base section commanders were 
intended to have full authority over all 
supply and administrative activities in 
their particular domains. Commanders of 
the various combat organizations (the 
Eighth Air Force, and later the armies) ac- 
cordingly tended to look to the base sec- 
tion commanders rather than to SOS 
headquarters for the solution of their 
normal logistical problems. 

The exercise of such theoretically full 
powers on a regional basis inevitably pro- 
duced a conflict with the functional opera- 
tions of the chiefs of services, who at- 
tempted to control their services at all 
echelons of command and in the entire 
theater. By regulation, the chiefs of serv- 



ices had authority to supervise and control 
technical matters, but the dividing line be- 
tween "technical supervision" and actual 
control was difficult to draw. The chief 
surgeon, for example, in attempting to 
control all general hospitals regardless of 
their location, came into unavoidable con- 
flict with the area commanders whose 
command authority was theoretically all- 
embracing. Similarly, a depot commander, 
caught between the instructions of the 
chief quartermaster and the base section 
commander, could not help but feel that 
he was serving two masters. 

In the first month after creation of the 
base sections, the SOS attempted to de- 
fine more precisely the authority and 
functions of the section commanders. In 
general, they were charged with the com- 
mand of all SOS personnel, units, and in- 
stallations located in their sections, and 
made responsible for their training, ad- 
ministration, discipline, sanitation, and 
"necessary arrangements for supply, 
and ... all operations of the SOS in the 
base sections which were not specifically 
excepted by the Commanding General." 
The sections were to be divided into dis- 
tricts, and actual operations were thus 
further decentralized. The relationship 
between base section commanders and the 
commanders of tactical units in their areas 
was to be similar to that of a corps area 
commander in the United States to tacti- 
cal commanders in the corps areas. Cer- 
tain activities were to be exempted from 
the control of the base section commanders 
and reserved for the chiefs of services. 
These included the internal management 
and technical operation of the transporta- 
tion service, port operations, general sup- 
ply and repair depots and shops, new con- 
struction, general hospitals, and general 

The system soon revealed its defects. 
Dissatisfaction on the part of the base sec- 
tion commanders with the extent of ex- 
empted activities and with the control 
exercised by the service chiefs over service 
troops brought the entire problem up for 
review in a few months. The problem of 
reconciling functional control with re- 
gional or territorial control was as old as 
administration itself, and it was to plague 
the ETO throughout its history, 63 

(4 ) TORCH Intervenes 

While both ETOUSA and the SOS 
were partially occupied with their internal 
organization in June and July, plans and 
preparations for the Bolero build-up 
proceeded apace. On the operational side, 
meanwhile, Allied staffs were actively en- 
gaged in planning for both Roundup and 
the emergency operation known as 
Sledgehammer. If there was any skepti- 
cism as to the feasibility of Roundup, or 
any lack of conviction that a full-scale 
cross-Channel invasion was the best means 
of carrying out Allied strategy in Europe, 
it was not reflected in logistical plans, for 
the administrative planners went ahead 
with high hopes and expectations of build- 
ing a base in the United Kingdom and 
preparing for the reception of the Ameri- 
can forces. So anxious were the Combined 
Chiefs to push the build-up that they con- 
sidered reducing shipments to the USSR 
of those supplies which were not essential 
to the fighting in 1942 in order to free 
shipping and accelerate the Bolero move- 
ments. This measure was actually pro- 
posed to Mr. Molotov, the Russian For- 
eign Minister, during his visit to Wash- 
ington early in June, with the suggestion 

i:! Organization and Command, L 108-19. 



that it would speed preparations for the 
second front which the Russians so 
ardently desired. 64 

Troop movements to the United King- 
dom proceeded approximately as planned 
in June, and by the end of the month the 
U.S. strength in Britain stood at 54,845. 65 
Within another four weeks, however, the 
strategic decisions of April were reversed. 
In July the British and American chiefs 
decided on the North African operation, 
thus placing the entire Bolero-Roundup 
concept in jeopardy. 

The factors which contributed most to 
this reversal in strategy were the growing 
conviction on the part of President Roose- 
velt that there must be some kind of offen- 
sive action in the European area in 1942, 
and the growing misgivings, particularly 
on the part of British officials, about the 
feasibility of Sledgehammer. On 18 June 
Prime Minister Churchill came to Wash- 
ington with the British Chiefs of Staff, at- 
tacked both the Sledgehammer and 
Roundup concepts, and asked instead for 
the reconsideration of a plan known as 
Gymnast, providing for an invasion of 
North Africa. The Prime Minister's argu- 
ments were strengthened by the disasters 
which were at this very time befalling 
British arms in North Africa, On 13 June 
("Black Saturday") Generaloberst Erwin 
Rommel had sent British forces reeling 
eastward after a tremendous tank battle, 
and on 20 June the Prime Minister, while 
in the United States, learned of the fall of 
Tobruk. Despite the persuasive arguments 
which the Prime Minister thus had for 
diverting the Bolero forces to ease the 
pressure in the Near East, the Bolero- 
Roundup idea was temporarily reaf- 
firmed, although the American planners 
made the concession of permitting the 
diversion of certain tank reinforcements 

and air units to the Near East. 

The compromise was short-lived. It did 
not withstand the new setbacks suffered 
by the Allies in the next few weeks. A tem- 
porary lift to the morale of the United 
Nations had been provided by U.S. naval 
victories in the battles of the Coral Sea 
(7-8 May) and Midway (6 June), and by 
the first 1,000-plane raid on Cologne by 
the RAF (30 May). But these heartening 
events were soon overshadowed by re- 
verses on almost every other front. In mid- 
June had come the disasters in North 
Africa. Early in July the Germans finally 
captured Sevastopol and then unleashed 
a drive which carried across the Don to- 
ward Stalingrad and threatened to over- 
run the Caucasus. In the North Atlantic, 
meanwhile, Allied shipping suffered its 
heaviest losses of the war from submarine 
attacks (nearly 400,000 tons in one week). 
For the Allies June and July were truly the 
darkest months of the war. 

By mid-July Prime Minister Churchill 
and the British Chiefs of Staff had defi- 
nitely concluded that Sledgehammer 
could not be carried out successfully and 
would in fact ruin prospects for Roundup 
in 1943. Again they recommended con- 
sideration of Gymnast. General Marshall, 
on the other hand, was equally convinced 
of the desperate urgency of a cross-Chan- 
nel operation in 1942 to relieve the terrible 
pressure on the Red armies. The time was 
at hand for a showdown, and on 16 July 
General Marshall, Admiral Ernest J. King, 

<i4 Molotov agreed to report the suggestion to 
Marshal Stalin. In one sense the proposal was 
academic, however, since a reduction in shipments 
via the northern route was forced shortly thereafter 
by the inability to provide adequate convoy escorts. 
Robert E. Sherwood, Roosevelt and Hopkins (New York, 
1948), pp. 569-70, 574-75; Winston S. Churchill, The 
Hinge of Fate (Boston, 1950), pp. 266-75. 

Br > Progress Rpt, 4 Oct 43, Progress Div SOS, ETO 
Adm 345. 



and Harry Hopkins left for London as 
representatives of President Roosevelt to 
settle the question of strategy. In meetings 
held between 20 and 25 July (sometimes 
referred to as the Second Claridge Con- 
ference) all thought of a cross-Channel op- 
eration in 1942 was abandoned at the in- 
sistence of the British, and the decision was 
made to implement the alternative Gym- 
nast plan — now rechristened Torch — for 
an invasion of North Africa. General 
Marshall, with the Russian situation con- 
stantly in mind, hoped to defer a final 
decision until September, but President 
Roosevelt accepted Torch as a definite 
commitment and instructed that prepara- 
tions be started at once. 

The decision to launch the North Afri- 
can operation was accepted with the full 
acknowledgment by the top U.S. planners 
that it would in all probability make the 
execution of Roundup impossible in 1943. 
Planning for an eventual cross-Channel 
operation was to continue, but the Torch 
operation immediately absorbed almost 
the entire effort and attention of the Allies 
in the European area, and Roundup was 
all but forgotten for several months to 
come. The shift in strategy by no means 
entailed an immediate negation of the 
Bolero build-up plans, for movement to 
the United Kingdom in fact had to be ac- 
celerated in the next few months. But it 
did alter the purpose of this build-up, for 
the decision to undertake the Torch oper- 
ation transferred the emphasis within 
ETOUSA from the construction of a base 
for operations against the Continent in 
1943 to the organization of a specific force 
for the Torch mission in 1942. For several 
months to come the long-range build-up 
of ETOUSA was therefore to be subordi- 
nated to the interests of the Torch 
operation. 66 

Preparations for the North African op- 
eration got under way without delay. 
Chiefly because of the estrangement in 
Anglo-French relations, a product of 
earlier events in the war, Torch was to be 
fundamentally an American expedition, 
and it was decided early that the com- 
mander should also be an American. Be- 
fore General Marshall departed for the 
United States, General Eisenhower was 
chosen as Allied commander in chief, al- 
though this choice was not officially con- 
firmed until mid-August. U.S. planners 
soon joined British planners to form a 
combined group at Norfolk House, pro- 
viding the nucleus for what was shortly 
named the Allied Force Headquarters 
(AFHQ). General Eisenhower (now a 
lieutenant general) chose Maj. Gen. Mark 
W. Clark, who had arrived in England in 
July as commander of the II Corps, as his 
deputy commander and placed him in 
charge of all Torch planning. 

As finally worked out, the Torch oper- 
ational plan provided for landings in three 
areas on the North African coast. A West- 
ern Task Force, composed entirely of 
American ground, naval, and air forces 
and coming directly from the United 
States, was to land in the vicinity of Casa- 
blanca on the Atlantic coast of Morocco. 
A Center Task Force, also American, but 
sailing from the United Kingdom with 
British naval support, was to land at 
Oran. An Eastern Assault Force, predom- 
inantly British but containing some Amer- 
ican troops and escorted by the Royal 
Navy, was to land at Algiers. The Torch 
logistical plan provided that each task 

6(J For a fuller discussion of Allied strategy in 1942 
see Gordon A. Harrison, Cross- Channel Attack (Wash- 
ington, 1951), and Maurice Matloff and Edwin M. 
Snell, Strategic Planning for Coalition Warfare, 1941-42 
(Washington, 1953), both in the series UNITED 



force should be supplied initially by the 
base from which it was launched. The 
Western Task Force was to be supplied di- 
rectly from the United States, the Center 
Task Force by the SOS in the United 
Kingdom, and the Eastern Assault Force 
by the British. Gradually, however, the 
entire support of the American force in 
North Africa was to come directly from 
the United States. The SOS in the United 
Kingdom would be relieved of all respon- 
sibility, and the North African operation 
would be completely separated from 
ETOUSA supply channels. 

AFHQ exercised over-all planning and 
control over both supply and operational 
matters in connection with Torch. For 
logistical planning the headquarters 
named Maj. Gen. Humfrey M. Gale 
(British) as Chief Administrative Officer 
and Colonel Hughes as his deputy. It 
would seem logical for AFHQ to have 
worked in close collaboration with both 
the SOS and ETOUSA in planning the 
North African operation, but it did not 
work out that way. Rather, AFHQ bor- 
rowed officers from both ETOUSA and 
SOS for planning purposes and frequently 
left the staffs of those headquarters out of 
the Torch picture. Although the SOS 
staff was in general divorced from plan- 
ning, the principle was followed that each 
national force would be responsible for its 
own supply and administration. The SOS 
was therefore responsible for implement- 
ing a supply program planned by another 
organization. This situation it regarded as 
a distinct handicap. 67 

Operation Torch came at a critical 
time for supply agencies in both the 
United States and the United Kingdom. 
While it was by no means the largest oper- 
ation undertaken by U.S. forces in World 
War II, Torch involved for the first time 

the organization and equipping of task 
forces several thousand miles apart; it re- 
quired for the first time the closest com- 
bined planning and implementation by 
British and American staffs; it came at the 
very beginning of the development of the 
SOS in the United Kingdom, when it still 
lacked adequate personnel and its supply 
procedures and techniques were new or 
untried. Moreover, the operation had to 
be prepared in great haste, for the time 
between conception and execution (three 
months) precluded long-range planning. 
As a result, Torch was not a model of 
planning and preparation and necessi- 
tated many improvisations both in equip- 
ment and supply methods. 

The largest single task which the SOS 
faced and which caused the greatest anxi- 
ety as D Day for the operation drew 
nearer was the equipping of the American 
force for the Torch mission. For this task 
it found itself ill prepared and variously 
handicapped. Time was already short, 
and to make matters worse there was a 
long delay in the final decision on the tac- 
tical plan, and therefore in the establish- 
ment of a definitive troop basis. The Brit- 
ish at first calculated that a total force of 
ten to twelve divisions was needed, half of 
which should be British, half American. 
General Marshall and General Eisen- 
hower, however, felt that the strategic 
concept of Torch was such that, once 
launched, it would have to be followed 
through with all the resources required, 
and the Chief of Staff warned that enemy 
reaction might be such as to require the 
diversion to the Torch area of the bulk of 
the forces intended for Bolero. General 
Marshall informed the theater com- 
mander that a total of seven U.S. divisions 

67 Organization and Command, I, 143-47, 158. 



was committed to the operation, with 
three more available should they be 
needed. Early in September General 
Eisenhower estimated that approximately 
102,000 American troops would be taken 
from the United Kingdom for the North 
African operation, 68 and the withdrawals 
eventually exceeded 150,000. The core of 
this force was to consist of the 1st Armored 
and the 1st and 34th Infantry Divisions, 
already in the United Kingdom. 

The trials which attended the equip- 
ping of this force can be attributed to diffi- 
culties in both the United States and the 
United Kingdom. The SOS in the United 
Kingdom suddenly faced a formidable 
task, and because of its undeveloped facil- 
ities could not possibly expect to cope with 
the increasing tonnages and numbers of 
men and at the same time handle the 
marshaling and outmovement of the 
Torch forces. It was therefore forced to 
rely heavily on the assistance of the British 
not only in mounting the Torch force but 
in port discharge and storage operations. 
This was one reason why many supply de- 
tails were handled through AFHQ rather 
than the SOS, since it was in the former 
that the machinery for combined opera- 
tions was coming into existence. The 
Americans were particularly handicapped 
in the field of transportation, and respon- 
sibility for movement of all troops and 
supplies leaving the United Kingdom had 
to be assumed by the British Ministry of 
War Transport. For purposes of liaison and 
co-ordination the SOS established a sec- 
tion of the Traffic Division of the Trans- 
portation Corps, headed by Col. Donald 
S. McConnaughy, at the British War Of- 
fice, where priorities and movement orders 
were arranged. 

In receiving and storing supplies the 
Americans were likewise dependent on 

British aid, owing in part to the lack of 
personnel and in part to the fact that they 
were strange to British facilities and ways. 
The great bulk of American cargo entered 
Britain via the Clyde, Mersey, and Bristol 
Channel ports, on the west coast of the 
United Kingdom. Ports on the southern 
coast, such as Southampton and Ply- 
mouth, had sustained especially heavy 
damage from German air attacks, as had 
Belfast in Northern Ireland. Consequently 
the western ports had to accommodate the 
greater part of Britain's wartime trade, 
her lend-lease traffic, and now the steadily 
expanding stream of personnel, equip- 
ment, and supplies for the American forces 
in the ETO. All of the British ports were 
greatly handicapped by lack of adequate 
labor and by the urgency to clear the 
quays as rapidly as possible because of the 
threat of night bombing raids. As a result 
convoys were often split, and supplies were 
shipped inland without adequate records 
or segregation. 

The depots were even less prepared to 
handle the newly arriving shipments of 
military stores. Since there was no time to 
construct new facilities, the first general 
depots were normally set up in warehouses 
or military depots turned over by the Brit- 
ish. Base depots were activated at Liver- 
pool, Bristol, and London in former com- 
mercial warehouses. In addition, British 
depots at Barry, Thatcham, Portsmouth, 
and Ashchurch began to receive American 
supplies and were gradually taken over 
completely by U.S. troops. Most of the 
early movement of supplies into the 
United Kingdom and the outmovements 
for Torch were handled through these 

68 Torch and the European Theater of Operations, 
Pt. IV of Administrative and Logistical History of the 
ETO, Hist Div USFET, 1946, MS (hereafter cited as 
Torch and the ETO), pp. 43-4-5. 



depots. Many of them were not suited to 
the handling of awkward and heavy mili- 
tary loads, and lacked the necessary cranes 
and access roads for trucks. 69 

In all of them adequate military per- 
sonnel were lacking. Depot G-25, at Ash- 
church, which eventually grew into a 
great general depot for American supplies 
and equipment, acquired a strength of 
about 3,000 U.S. service troops in the 
summer of 1942. As in the case of the 
ports, operation of the depots required 
extensive use of British labor, which was 
untrained and unfamiliar with American 
methods and nomenclature. 

The summer months saw increasing 
tonnages of American supplies arriving in 
the theater. A total of 570,000 long tons 
flowed through the U.K. ports in the 
months of August, September, and Octo- 
ber. 70 But it became evident early in the 
preparations for Torch that there would 
be serious difficulties in equipping and 
readying the U.S. forces earmarked for the 
North African operation. The SOS in the 
United Kingdom was simply unable to 
cope with the sudden influx of supplies in 
view of the condition in which they were 
arriving and the handicaps under which 
the SOS was working. More and more 
supplies were temporarily lost because 
they could not be identified or located. In 
some cases the arrival of unit equipment 
lagged seriously. In mid-August it was re- 
vealed that the bulk of the equipment of 
the 1st Infantry Division, including its 
artillery, was still in the United States, and 
doubts were expressed that the division 
could be employed as planned. 71 Not one 
hospital unit earmarked for the North 
African operation arrived in the United 
Kingdom with its complete equipment be- 
fore the middle of October, and equipment 
therefore had to be drawn from hospitals 

established for troops in the United 
Kingdom. 72 

Some of the difficulties attending the 
equipping of the Torch force were the re- 
sult of the hurried clearance of the ports, 
the lack of trained personnel, the undevel- 
oped facilities, and the general immaturity 
of the SOS organization in the United 
Kingdom. A number of them had their 
source farther back in the supply line, in 
the zone of interior. Much of the trouble 
stemmed from the fact that the entire 
overseas supply procedure had been over- 
hauled only recently by the War Depart- 
ment and was not yet working smoothly. 
The SOS in the United States was hardly 
more experienced in the new procedure 
than the SOS in ETOUSA, for the supply 
techniques which later became routine 
standing operating procedures were still 
relatively untested. 

By the time the United States entered 
the war in December 1941 the ports of 
embarkation and the zone of interior de- 
pots were well established. Under the sys- 
tem then in operation the War Depart- 
ment exercised a close centralized control 
over the shipment of supplies, and the 
ports of embarkation served simply as fun- 
nels through which supplies flowed to the 
overseas commands. With the outbreak of 
war in December it was realized that a de- 
centralization of control was necessary, 
and in January 1942 the entire overseas 
supply procedure was revised. The main 
feature of this change was the key position 
accorded the ports of embarkation. Except 
for the control of certain critical items, 
both automatic supply and the editing 

69 Healey Memoir, p. 31. 

70 TC Monthly Progress Rpts, OCofT, SOS 
ETOUSA, ETO Adm 450-52. 

71 Harry Q Butcher, My Three Tears with Eisenhower 
(New York, 1945)* p. 53. 

72 ETO Medical Service History, Gh. IV, p. 10. 



and filling of requisitions now became the 
responsibility of the port of embarkation 
commander, and the great bulk of sup- 
plies now flowed overseas without the 
necessity for War Department action. The 
new overseas supply plan had the objec- 
tive of freeing the War Department of the 
normal business of overseas supply and of 
building up adequate reserve levels in the 
theater as quickly as production and ship- 
ping permitted. The War Department 
established the over-all policy on these 
levels, which were expressed in a mini- 
mum and maximum number of days for 
each class of supply, the maximum level 
normally being ninety days for most 
classes. On the basis of troop strengths in 
the overseas theaters and the reserve levels 
prescribed by the War Department, the 
port commander now recommended the 
minimum port reserves and zone of in- 
terior depot credits. Beyond this, the rou- 
tine supply procedure — editing requisi- 
tions, calling up supplies from the depots, 
preparing loading plans, and estimating 
shipping needs — was controlled by the 
port commander. 

At the other end of the supply chain the 
main responsibility of the overseas com- 
mander was to forward timely information 
of his requirements. Except for critical 
items, including ammunition, for which 
allocations and priorities were established 
by the War Department, this information 
was to go directly to the port commander. 
In the case of automatic supply items 
(Glasses I and III, or rations and fuel) this 
would include the troop strength, the ac- 
tual levels of these supplies in the theater, 
and certain other data on available stor- 
age, information which formed the basis 
for automatic shipments. In the case of 
Class II and IV supplies (mainly equip- 
ment) the theater's needs were made 

known in the form of requisitions, includ- 
ing certain data regarding the justification 
for the requests. In addition, periodic 
status reports were submitted as a basis for 
the supply of several types of critical items. 

The port of embarkation commander 
had a reciprocal obligation to keep the 
overseas commander informed of ship- 
ments (normally by advance air-mailing 
of manifests) to enable him to make de- 
tailed plans for the receipt of supplies. In 
this respect, as in several others, the new 
supply procedure fell short of its aims, par- 
ticularly in the early months. Overseas 
commanders complained, for example, 
that advance information reaching them 
was both insufficient and late. The Chief 
of the Chemical Warfare Service in 
ETOUSA noted that he had received a 
manifest for 120 tons of chemical equip- 
ment without any indication of the con- 
tents. In July Colonel Hughes, then the 
chief ordnance officer, visited the United 
States on supply matters, and reported in 
an SOS staff conference in London that he 
had found complete confusion among War 
Department personnel over requisitions 
from ETOUSA. 73 

Port officials in the United States mean- 
while complained that overseas com- 
manders were failing to report their levels 
of supply, omitted priorities for classes of 
supply, were remiss in properly justifying 
their requisitions, and in some cases even 
failed to submit requisitions. 74 Misconcep- 
tions and misunderstandings were very 
common at first, and many months passed 
before theater commanders and zone of 

7;i StfConf,Hq SOS, 3 1 Jul 42, USFET 337 Confs 

14 Development of Overseas Supply and Procedure, 
prep by Capt Richard M. Leighton, Hist Br, Control 
Div, ASF, 1944, MS, Chs. I, II, and History of Plan- 
ning Division ASF, prep by Ping Div, Office, Dir, 
Plans and Opns, ASF, 1946, MS, II, 189-91, OCMH. 



interior supply officials fully compre- 
hended the scope of their new responsibil- 
ities or the specific procedures involved in 
the new supply system. Until the system 
was set up and functioning there was a 
good deal of lost motion in the supply 
machine. One of the fundamental con- 
cepts of the new procedure — decentraliza- 
tion — was long in taking root. Requisitions 
and special requests continued to be sub- 
mitted to the chiefs of services or other 
War Department agencies in Washington, 
and in July General Lutes found it neces- 
sary to remind the ETO to send requisi- 
tions through the New York Port of 
Embarkation and to stop duplications in 

While much of the difficulty in estab- 
lishing the new supply procedure was due 
to lack of comprehension or misconception 
on the part of supply officials, many of the 
troubles of the summer of 1942 stemmed 
from the lack of adequately trained per- 
sonnel to assume the new responsibility 
thrust upon the ports. This was not only 
true in the offices of the New York Port of 
Embarkation, the port responsible for 
shipments to the ETO, where trained per- 
sonnel were required to exercise judgment 
in determining whether or not requisitions 
should be honored, but also in the depots, 
where the task of packing and marking 
supplies became one of the most irksome 
and trying of all problems to plague the 
preparations for Torch. 

Early in the summer ETOUSA supply 
officials began to complain of the condi- 
tion in which supplies were being received 
in the United Kingdom, and in July and 
August the theater received a veritable 
avalanche of equipment, much of it im- 
properly marked and crated, some of it 
with no marking at all. The resultant con- 
fusion in the British ports, where segrega- 

tion was impossible, and in the depots, 
manned for the most part by inexperi- 
enced troops, is easily imagined. Colonel 
Ross, chief of transportation in the ETO, 
described a trip to Liverpool, where he 
observed the unloading of a ship and per- 
sonally noted the condition of cargo being 
discharged. He reported that 30 percent 
of the tonnage that came off the ship had 
no marking whatever and was therefore 
unidentifiable. Of the remainder, about 
25 percent of the boxes indicated no ad- 
dressee, and carried only a general desig- 
nation that they contained ordnance or 
medical supplies. "It meant, in effect," he 
noted, "that after several ships were un- 
loaded we were unable to send over half 
the freight to the particular depot to which 
the using services ordered it. The result 
was that all services were forced to go into 
a huddle and to examine practically half 
of the freight they received before they 
could distribute that freight to the people 
that needed it." Boxes frequently marked 
with only a lead pencil or paper label at 
the depot of origin were loaded into freight 
cars, and bills of lading were made out in- 
dicating simply that a car contained 
thirty-seven tons of quartermaster sup- 
plies. These supplies would carry the same 
general designation on the manifest when 
transferred to a ship in the New York 
port. 75 

Citing specific examples of the effects of 
such practices, Colonel Ross noted that he 
had seen two new engines mounted on a 
platform, but with no other crating, both 
of them badly damaged. The contents of 
uncrated paper cartons often took a loss of 
75 percent from handling and exposure to 

7r> Invasion: The History of the Transportation 
Corps in the ETO, prep by Hist Sec, OGofT, ETO, 
1944, Vol. Ill (April-June 1944), Ch. I, pp. 13-14, 
ETO Adm 582D. 



rain. Thousands of unmarked barracks 
bags, some of them intended for Iceland, 
were thrown in with other cargo, and re- 
quired four or five days to retrieve. Late in 
July Colonel Ross made a vehement pro- 
test against these practices, strongly indict- 
ing the depots in the United States as the 
source of the difficulties which the SOS in 
the United Kingdom was now having in 
trying to segregate, identify, and salvage 
these supplies. In a letter to Brig. Gen. 
Robert H. Wylie, Chief of Operations, 
Office of the Chief of Transportation, in 
the War Department, Colonel Ross wrote: 

You can readily see that this environment 
necessitates a revision of ideas from your em- 
barkation end. If we seem impatient at times 
because this baggage and equipment is not 
marked and sailing cables do not arrive, 
please remember that the few days that are 
being saved in New York in priming a ship 
are more than lost here in unscrambling the 
mess. . . . You must remember that all of 
the warehouses and some of the piers here 
are completely destroyed, that we must load 
from shipside to train and thence to depot 
destinations. There isn't any use in New 
York, or any other port, raising the human 
cry that they cannot spend the time on this. 
Either the method must be found to spend 
time on it, or our efforts here will collapse. 76 

There were additional reasons for the 
difficulties which the SOS in the United 
Kingdom experienced in the summer of 
1942. One of them was the procedure in 
shipping organizational equipment over- 
seas. Under the current practice of "force 
marking," each unit preparing for over- 
seas movement was given a "task force" 
code number which was used to identify 
both the unit and its equipment. A unit's 
equipment was loaded on cargo ships, 
while the personnel traveled on transports, 
and the force number was intended to per- 
mit a rapid "marrying up" of the unit 
with its equipment upon arrival in the 

theater. In the trying months preceding 
Torch this system did not work well. Sol- 
diers normally made the Atlantic voyage 
in swift liners which carried no cargo, and 
their equipment frequently arrived as 
much as 80 to 120 days later. Even when 
troops and equipment departed at the 
same time, the units had to give up their 
equipment at least a month before sailing 
so that it could be crated, shipped to the 
port, and loaded, thus curtailing the unit's 
training. 77 Marrying up an organization 
with its equipment in the United King- 
dom was a major task, and in the early 
days the depots often did not have master 
lists of the force-marked code numbers. In 
the case of Torch units, which were 
spending only a short time in the United 
Kingdom before debarking for North 
Africa, frantic efforts had to be made to 
find organizational equipment when the 
unit's own equipment was not received or 
could not be found. New requisitions had 
to be placed on theater depots, with the 
result that normal stocks were depleted 
and the theater's supply level was 
reduced. 78 

The confusion in the U.K. depots was 
not helped by the inauguration in mid- 
summer of a new shipping procedure 
which supplemented the force marking 
system. In the spring of 1942 a proposal 
had been made to ship equipment and 
supplies as fast as available shipping re- 
sources allowed, regardless of the rate of 
troop movements. The process of building 
up supplies and equipment in this manner 
in excess of the normal organizational and 

76 Ltr, Ross to Wylie, 28 Jul 42, ETO Adm 341 A 
Transportation — General. 

77 Troop and Supply Buildup in the United King- 
dom prior to D Day, Pt. Ill of The Administrative 
and Logistical History of the ETO, Hist Div USFET, 
1946, MS, pp. 154-55, OGMH. 

78 Healey Memoir, p. 30. 



maintenance needs of troops in the thea- 
ter, and storing them for later issue, was 
known as preshipment. The new system 
promised undeniable advantages. It would 
permit the fullest possible use of all cargo 
shipping; it would take advantage of the 
long summer days when unloading time 
could be increased; and it would prevent 
interruptions in the training of units, 
since they would retain their old equip- 
ment until embarkation and would be is- 
sued new equipment upon arrival in the 
theater. 79 In the absence of definite plans 
for operations in 1942 the new shipping 
scheme had real merit. The decision to 
launch the Torch operation, however, 
prevented the full implementation of the 
preshipment idea in 1942. The shortage 
of shipping and the desperate efforts to 
equip specific units for the North African 
operation limited advance shipment to 
such bulk supplies as construction mate- 
rials, rations, and crated vehicles. The re- 
ceipt of even this tonnage only placed an 
additional burden on the creaking supply 
organization in the United Kingdom. 

Early in September the entire supply 
problem reached a climax and threatened 
to jeopardize the Torch operation. Many 
units reported critical shortages and conse- 
quently were not ready for the North 
African operation. Colonel Hughes, the 
deputy chief administrative officer of 
AFHQ, estimated that the SOS could 
meet the food and ammunition require- 
ments of 1 1 2,000 men in the North African 
theater for forty days, and provide twenty 
days of supply in many other categories. 
Because of unbalanced stocks, however, 
serious deficiencies had appeared in some 
categories, notably in spare parts for 
weapons and motor vehicles. 80 By mid- 
September Colonel Hughes had become 
more pessimistic. On the 14th he reported 

to General Clark that there was no assur- 
ance of an adequate ammunition supply, 
and he gave his opinion that the job could 
not be done within the time limits estab- 
lished. 81 

Some of the supply deficiencies reported 
by Colonel Hughes were absolute short- 
ages in that insufficient quantities had 
been received from the United States, But 
the most vexing problem arose from the 
temporary loss of items in the United 
Kingdom. They had been received but 
could not be found. In the spring and 
early summer, when haste in unloading 
ships and speeding their turn-round were 
the pressing considerations, and when 
poor marking made identification and 
segregation impossible, large quantities of 
supplies had been thrown into warehouses 
and open storage without proper inven- 
torying. Now there was a sudden demand 
for thousands of items and there were no 
adequate records indicating their location. 

Since inventorying these stocks would 
require several months, there appeared to 
be only one alternative — to reorder the 
needed items from the United States. On 
7 September the theater commander 
cabled the War Department, describing 
the situation and explaining that in many 
cases SOS troops did not know what was 
on hand. In an attempt to prepare the 
War Department for what was to come 
and thus soften the blow, he asked that it 
bear with him if the chiefs of the services 
in Washington received requests for items 

19 Memo, Brig Gen Raymond G. Moses, WD G-4, 
for Gen Lutes, 30 Apr 42, sub: Force Bolero, WD 
G-4 Bolero; Memo, Col Garter B. McGruder, Opns 
Div SOS, for Lutes, 1 7 Jun 42, sub: Cargo for Bolero, 
Jun-Aug, ASF Ping Div A47-147 Bolero Require- 
ments (Strategic). 

so Butcher, My Three Years with Eisenhower > p. 88. 

R: Ltr, Hughes to Clark, 14 Sep 42, sub: Estimate of 
Supply and Adm Aspects of Proposed Opn, USFET 
AG 400 Supplies and Equipment, V. 



which they had already shipped. "Time is 
now so critically important," he added, 
"that we cannot always be accurate with 
respect to these details." 82 This commu- 
nication was followed on the very next day 
by a lengthy cable requisitioning huge 
quantities of supplies which were urgently 
needed for the equipping and support of 
the Torch force. 

Natur ally it came as quite a shock to the 
War Department to learn that much of the 
Class II and IV supplies already shipped 
to the United Kingdom could not be lo- 
cated and would have to be replaced. In 
a letter to General Lee on 12 September 
General Lutes noted that the War Depart- 
ment had already made strenuous efforts 
to build up stocks in the United Kingdom 
for the Roundup operation scheduled for 
next spring. After the Torch decision it 
was faced with the additional problem of 
equipping the Western Task Force and 
then maintaining the North African forces 
from the United States. Now it was being 
asked to duplicate much of the U.K. 

We wish to assist you in every way possible 
[Lutes wrote], please be assured of that. How- 
ever, we have sunk a large quantity of sup- 
plies in the UK, and these supplies, together 
with those furnished for Lend-Lease pur- 
poses, and those lost by submarine sinkings, 
are putting the staff on this side in an em- 
barrassing situation. At the moment, we are 
having the ammunition implications ana- 
lyzed. We hope to be able to fill your require- 
ments for the task force leaving UK, but it 
would be most helpful if this ammunition 
could be located in UK. I realize that at this 
great distance, it is difficult for us to fully 
understand your problems, but it would ap- 
pear that a small group of American officers 
in each of the British ports could protect the 
American interests on the supplies and 
equipment we have shipped to the UK. 83 

The letter went on to point out that 
many of the requests made by the ETO 

were not clear. Units for which equipment 
was requested were not identified, and 
maintenance for field artillery units was 
requisitioned without indicating whether 
they were howitzer or gun units. Such lack 
of exactness, reflecting improper editing 
and co-ordination in the theater, only 
made the task of the supply agencies in the 
War Department and in the ports more 
difficult and time consuming. 84 

Additional requests continued to flow to 
the War Department in the following 
weeks. Late in September there still were 
misunderstandings about the length of 
time during which the Center Task Force 
and Eastern Assault Force could be main- 
tained from the United Kingdom. In mid- 
October, in reply to a late request for 
maintenance supplies, the War Depart- 
ment tartly noted, "It appears that we 
have shipped all items at least twice and 
most items three times." 85 

Some organizations destined to join the 
North African forces had little more than 
50 percent of their initial basic allowances 
of signal equipment only a month before 
the target date. On the other hand, or- 
ganizations frequently did not know the 
status of their own equipment, and some 
arrived for embarkation with overages. 
The 1st Armored Division, for example, 
arrived in Glasgow with vehicles consid- 
erably in excess of allowances, and was 
forced to leave them scattered over the 
Scottish port when it embarked for North 
Africa. 86 

82 Cbl 1871, Eisenhower to OPD, 7 Sep 42, as cited 
in Torch and the ETO, p. 72. 

8: * Ltr, Lutes to Lee, 12 Sep 42, copy in Preparations 
for Torch, prep in Hist Sec WD, MS, App. C, 

84 For the War Department story see Leighfon and 
Coakley, Logistics of Global Warfare. 

85 Quoted in Preparations for Torch, p. 37. 

86 Torch and the ETO, p. 75. 



Quartermaster, ETOUSA. 

Early in September, when the supply 
situation was most chaotic, General Eisen- 
hower re-emphasized to General Lee his 
basic mission of operating the SOS so as to 
insure the adequate support of the Ameri- 
can expeditionary force then being pre- 
pared in the United Kingdom. He in- 
structed the SOS commander to spare no 
effort or expense to accomplish the task of 
sorting and cataloguing supplies that had 
already been received, and he urged Lee 
to utilize to the utmost the proffered assist- 
ance of British organizations and to exploit 
every possible means of avoiding unneces- 
sary shipments from the United States. 
Eisenhower asked Lee to devote full per- 
sonal attention to this task, authorizing 
him to delegate responsibility for the nor- 
mal routine functions of the SOS to a sub- 
ordinate. 87 General Lee accordingly ap- 

pointed General Littlejohn, the chief 
quartermaster, as deputy commander of 
the SOS. 88 

Strenuous efforts on the part of both the 
SOS in the United States and the SOS in 
the ETO overcame the most critical de- 
ficiencies in the United Kingdom in the 
following weeks. Needed items were sought 
in a variety of ways: local procurement 
(emergency production was even started 
in local factories); requests on the British 
War Office (considerable quantities of am- 
munition were obtained in this way from 
British stocks); emergency requisition on 
the United States; transfer from alerted 
organizations with low priority or from 
nonalerted units; and a search of stacks 
afloat and of the depots, where men 
worked day and night, receiving, storing, 
and issuing supplies. 89 

Efforts were also made to alleviate some 
of the effects of the poor marking practices, 
and to remedy the fault itself. Late in 
September General Marshall suggested 
that a detachment of three or four men 
familiar with the cargo and loading plan 
be placed on each ship to follow through 
on the discharge and keep track of priority 
freight so that it would be properly dis- 
patched. This procedure became common 
practice in the ensuing months. 90 Upon 
arrival in the United Kingdom more and 

87 Aide-Memoire, Eisenhower for Lee, 10 Sep 42, 
SOS AG 320.2 SOS Jun 42-Jul 43. 

88 Littlejohn was relieved of his position as deputy 
commander and appointed chief of staff of the SOS 
on 19 October. But as such he continued to exercise 
his responsibilities with regard to routine SOS func- 
tions, and also continued as chief quartermaster, two 
jobs that gave him a heavy burden. Early in Novem- 
ber, Col. William G. Weaver took over the duties as 
chief of staff and shortly thereafter Lee referred to the 
colonel as his field deputy commander. Organization 
and Command, I, 1 60. 

89 Torch and the ETO, p. 75. 

90 Memo, Marshall for Somervell, 23 Sep 42, ASF, 
Chief of Staff— GS (2). 



more cargo was moved immediately to 
inland sorting sheds which had been built 
by the British for use in case the ports were 
blitzed. In 1942 they served an emergency 
purpose in receiving cargo which could 
not be segregated, and in effect became 
warehouses, since there was little oppor- 
tunity to redistribute cargo to its original 
destination. They were used to a more 
limited extent as sorting sheds in 1943. 91 
Meanwhile an effort was made in the 
United States to get at the root of the cargo 
shipping problem. The War Department 
instructed the Chief of Transportation in 
Washington to set up an inspection service, 
and on the first day of action at the New 
York Port it turned back to the depots 
14,700 pieces of freight which could not be 
identified. 92 

Within a month these efforts had begun 
to show results, and the panic subsided. 
Early in October General Larkin, the G-4 
of the Center Task Force, reported that the 
loading schedule would be met and that 
at least nothing had developed to make 
the SOS situation any worse. At the same 
time General Hughes 93 made a tour of the 
depots and returned more optimistic. 94 

A month later, on 8 November, the 
operation whose preparation was char- 
acterized by so many doubts and uncer- 
tainties and frantic measures was launched 
and eventually carried to a successful con- 
clusion. The five months between the acti- 
vation of the theater and the launching of 
Torch were a period of hard experience 
for the SOS. In implementing planning in 
which it had taken no part the SOS had 
worked under a severe handicap. General 
Lee later stated that one of the principal 
lessons learned from Torch was that sup- 
ply planning and operations must be 
closely co-ordinated with tactical planning 
and operations. This lesson was not for- 

gotten in the preparation for the cross- 
Channel attack in 1944. 

(5) BOLERO'S Status at the End of 1942 

Besides providing a school of experience 
for the infant SOS, Torch left its mark on 
the United Kingdom in other ways. The 
North African operation in effect crippled 
the great Bolero design, for it caused not 
only a sudden drain of U.S. air, ground, 
and service forces, supplies, and key per- 
sonnel from the United Kingdom but left 
the European theater the low man on the 
War Department's priority list. As a result 
the entire development of the U.S. estab- 
lishment in the United Kingdom was re- 
tarded, and its losses were not recouped 
for many months to come. 

After the token shipments of the first 
months of 1942 the Bolero movements of 
the summer slowly but steadily had built 
U.S. strength in the United Kingdom to a 
peak of 228,000 men in October. Late that 
month the embarkations for North Africa 
began, the bulk of the outmovements tak- 
ing place by the end of February 1943, at 
which time 151,000 troops had been with- 
drawn. Small additional shipments in the 
succeeding months brought the total di- 
versions to 153,000. Meanwhile small 
numbers of troops continued to flow to the 
United Kingdom from the United States, 
but the net result of the transfers to North 
Africa was a reduction of the American 
strength in the United Kingdom to 104,- 

91 Memo, Col N. A. Ryan, OCofT, for CG SOS, 
20 Feb 43, sub: Sorting Sheds, EUCOM 320 Re- 
sponsibilities of TC 1942; Note by Lt Col George W. 
Beeler, SOS, at mtg on inland sorting sheds, 8 May 
43, USFET 337 Confs 1942-44. 

92 TC History, Vol. Ill, Ch. I, p. 14, cited above, 
n. 75. 

93 Promoted to brigadier general on 6 September. 

94 Butcher, My Three Tears with Eisenhower, p. 133. 


Table 1 — Troop Build-up in the United Kingdom : January 1942-February 1943 

Arrivals * 

End of month strength 

Year and month 


from Jan 42 


fvfAnn ri 




of Supply 

and Misc 

Force b 






























































d 223,794 






































» By ship. Excludes movements by air. 

b Air, ground, and SOS personnel assigned to Allied Force at the time and earmarked for movement to North Africa. 
Data not available. 

d The peak strength of about 228,000 reached in the U.K. during October is not indicated here because embarkation 
for TORCH began before the end of the month. 

Source; Troop arrivals data obtained from ETO TC Monthly Progress Rpt, 30 Jun 44, ETO Adm 451 TC Rpts. Troop 
strength data for June 1942 through February 1943 obtained from Progress Rpt, Progress Div, SOS, 4 Oct 43, ETO 
Adm 345 Troops. These ETO strength data were preliminary, unaudited figures for command purposes and, while differ- 
ing slightly from the audited WD AG strengths, have been used throughout this volume because of the subdivision into air, 
ground, and service troops. This breakdown is unavailable in WD AG reports. 

510 at the end of February 1943. 95 (Table 1) 
The drain of personnel was particularly 
noticeable in the air and ground forces. A 
new air force, the Twelfth, had been acti- 
vated to support the Torch operation, 
and was eventually constituted largely of 
units transferred from the Eighth Air 
Force, which organized and prepared the 
new organization for its North African 
mission. The Eighth Air Force initially lost 
about 27,000 of its men to the Twelfth and 
continued to serve as a replacement pool 
for the North African air force for several 
months. In addition, it was estimated that 

the Eighth lost nearly 1,100 of its aircraft 
and 75 percent of its stock of supplies to 
the new command. 96 So weakened was the 
Eighth by its contributions to Torch that 
its "bombing operations against the Con- 
tinent virtually ceased for a time and were 
severely curtailed for several months be- 
cause the newly activated Twelfth was ac- 

95 Progress Rpt, 4 Oct 43, Progress Div SOS, ETO 
Adm 345. 

■ m Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate, eds., 
The Army Air Forces in World War 11; 11, Europe— 
TORCH to P0INTBLAMK, August 1942 to December 
1943 (Chicago, 1949), pp. 599-600; 619; Torch and 
the ETO, p. 119. 



corded higher priority on equipment and 

The ground forces suffered even heavier 
losses to the Torch operation, reaching 
their lowest ebb in the history of the thea- 
ter with a strength of less than 20,000. The 
V Corps, now transferred from Northern 
Ireland to England, continued to serve as 
the highest administrative headquarters 
for ground forces in the United Kingdom. 
But for several months the 29th Division, 
which had arrived in October and had as- 
sisted in the administrative preparations 
of the North African force, remained the 
only major ground force unit in the 
United Kingdom. Not until May 1943 did 
the ETO begin to rebuild its depleted 

The North African operation also took 
its toll of key officers in the United King- 
dom, some of the ablest members of the 
ETOUSA and SOS headquarters being 
selected to serve in the expeditionary 
force. In addition to Brig. Gen. Walter B. 
Smith, who became General Eisenhower's 
chief of staff in AFHQ, Headquarters, 
ETOUSA, immediately lost its G-l, Col. 
Ben M. Sawbridge, its adjutant general, 
Col. ThomasJ. Davis, and the antiaircraft 
officer, Col. Aaron Bradshaw, upon the 
organization of the new headquarters. 
Other officers in key positions were trans- 
ferred to North Africa during the fall and 
winter months. The loss of these men, 
combined with the constant shifting of as- 
signments in the United Kingdom, inevi- 
tably weakened the ETOUS A staff for a 

While the SOS retained more stability, 
it also lost several of its top officers. Gen- 
eral Larkin, who had become one of Lee's 
most capable assistants, first as chief of 
staff and then as chief engineer, became 
the G-4 of the Center Task Force and 
eventually headed the entire SOS organ- 

GENERAL MOORE, Chief Engineer, 
ETOUSA. (Photograph taken in 1945.) 

ization in North Africa. He was replaced 
by the Eastern Base Section commander, 
Colonel Moore, who remained the thea- 
ter's chief engineer for the remainder of the 
war. General Davison, who had come to 
England with General Chaney in 1941, 
became the chief engineer of AFHQ. 
Colonel Ross, the chief of transportation, 
went to North Africa in January 1943 but 
was absent only temporarily, returning to 
the United Kingdom in March. General 
Hughes, the Deputy Chief Administrative 
Officer, remained in the United Kingdom 
as deputy chief of staff of ETOUSA 
through the winter months and was not 
definitely lost to the theater until the 
spring of 1943. Among the other losses 
which the SOS sustained were its G-4, 
chemical warfare officer, and judge advo- 
cate. The Eighth Air Force also lost several 
of its key officers, including General Spaatz 



from the United Kingdom to Africa, 

himself. All in all, the assignments to 
AFHQ represented a considerable drain 
on the talents of ETOUSA, although some 
of these officers were to return in 1944 to 
apply the experience they won in the 
Mediterranean area to the preparation of 
the cross-Channel operation. 97 

Torch also cut deeply into the stockpile 
of supplies and equipment which the ETO 
had built up since the first of the year. In 
acquiring first priority on all shipping re- 
sources, it created a famine which lasted 
well into 1943. In the period from October 
1942 through April 1943 more than 400,- 
000 long tons of American supplies were 
dispatched from the United Kingdom to 

North Africa. These shipments affected 
the services in varying degree. The Signal 
Corps, for example, estimated that 20 per- 
cent of the total signal tonnages received 
in the United Kingdom since the first of 
the year was shipped to North Africa, In 
many cases maintenance and reserve 
levels in the United Kingdom were seri- 
ously depleted. The dependence of the 
Torch forces on U.K. stocks was intended 
to be temporary, of course, and the large 
shipments came to an end in May 1943, 
but the drain had been heavier than 
anticipated. 98 

97 Organization and Command, I, 154-56, 160-61. 

98 Torch and the ETO, pp. 102-09, 


Table 2 — Cargo Flow to the United Kingdom : January 1942-May 1943 

Measurement tons 

Long tons 

Year and month 


from Jan 42 


from Jan 42 




46,3 5 3 



July .... 











Source: ETO TC Monthly Progress Rpts, Hq SOS, Statistics Br, OCofT, ETO Adm 450-51. 

The support of the Torch force was at- 
tended by its share of confusions and mis- 
understandings over supply procedure. 
General Somervell had rejected a proposal 
that requisitions for the Western and 
Center Task Forces be channeled through 
AFHQ and ETOUSA to the War Depart- 
ment. He ordered that they be sent di- 
rectly from the task forces to the New York 
Port, with AFHQ exercising over-all con- 
trol as to amounts and character of the 
supplies. But as long as the Torch forces 
were partially dependent on the SOS in 
the United Kingdom there was some du- 
plication of effort and AFHQ and 
ETOUSA submitted requisitions for sup- 
plies for the same units. Part of the confu- 

sion resulted from the inadequate ex- 
change of information between the two 
headquarters; part of it undoubtedly re- 
flected the general immaturity of the whole 
supply system and the lack of experience 
of all concerned in conducting a large- 
scale operation." Here Torch again 
taught a lesson which was taken to heart 
in the later Overlord planning. 

Meanwhile the flow of supplies from the 
United States to the United Kingdom was 
sharply reduced upon the launching of 
Torch, averaging less than 35,000 long 
tons in the seven lean months that fol- 

sw Ibid., pp. 75-76; Organization and Command, 
I, 163. 



lowed. 100 
troops fr 

{Table 2) 

mil ilie 

Likewise the flow of 
United States almost 

ceased in February, March, and April 
1943, averaging fewer than 1,600 in those 
months. The mere trickle to which supply 
and troop movements to the United King- 
dom were reduced belatedly reflected the 
relatively unimportant position to which 
the U.K. build-up had been relegated by 
the new active theater of operations. 
Shortly after the Claridge Conference of 
July the War Department decreed that 
supplies and equipment would be shipped 
and stocked no longer in accordance with 
the old Bolero-Roundup plan but only 
in quantities sufficient to meet mainte- 
nance requirements for troops that were to 
remain in Britain. 101 It notified the theater 
that all outstanding requisitions based on 
the Bolero build-up were subject to can- 
cellation. 102 The War Department was 
serving notice, in other words, that the 
Bolero build-up would not proceed as 
originally planned. A few weeks later it 
asked ETOUSA to submit recommenda- 
tions for a reduced troop basis built 
around a ground force of 150,000 men, 103 
and shortly thereafter gave further indica- 
tion of its plans for the size of the U.K. 
force by instructing that requisitions for 
the ETO tentatively be based on a total 
force of 300,000. 104 Late in September 
Headquarters, ETO, determined that a 
balanced force with five divisions would 
require a total of 427,000 men, made up 
as follows: 105 


427, 000 

Ground Forces 150,000 

Air Forces 172,000 

Services of Supply 105, 000 

The War Department accepted these 
figures in October, and they became the 

basis for U.S. build-up plans in the United 
Kingdom for the next several months. 
Word from Washington soon made it clear 
that no equipment or supplies in excess of 
the maintenance needs of this force would 
be shipped to the United Kingdom. There 
would be no stockpiling for some hypo- 
thetical future operation. Finally, the War 
Department went a step further and re- 
duced the authorized levels of supply for 
most items in the United Kingdom from 
90 days to 60 or 75. 106 

Despite these signs, the hope that plans 
and preparations for the cross-Channel 
operation would continue unabated died 
hard in the United Kingdom. There was 
definitely no intention of abandoning 
Roundup, and there was little disposition 
at first on the part of ETO planners to ac- 
cept a slowing of Roundup's counter- 
part — the Bolero build-up and its com- 
panion plan for the preparation of the 
U.K. base. Preoccupied as he was with 
the coming North African operation, Gen- 
eral Eisenhower expressed to General 
Marshall the belief that "we should plan 
deliberately" for the cross-Channel opera- 
tion, and urged that the War Department 
"make superhuman efforts to build up 
U.S. strength in the United Kingdom 
after the Torch requirements have been 

100 TG Monthly Progress Rpts, Statistics Br, 

101 Memo, Lutes for Technical Svc Chiefs, 26 Sep 
42, sub: Shipments to American Forces in U.K., ASF 
Ping Div, Bolero Requirements, Strategic, A47-147. 

102 Gbl, Marshall to USFOR, 22 Aug 42, USFET 
334 Mission for Economic Affairs Progress Rpt 1944. 

103 Cbl R-248, AGWAR to ETO, 12 Sep 42, 
USFET AG 381, 54-40 or Bolero. 

104 Memo, G-4 SOS for GG SOS, 17 Sep 42, sub: 
Status of Supply Techniques and Its Effect on This 
Theater, USFET 400 Supply I. 

105 Ltr, Hq ETO to GG SOS, 23 Sep 42, sub: SOS 
Over-all Plan, SOS AG 320.2 SOS Jun 42-Jul 43. 

nHi Ltr, Somervell to Lee, 17 Nov 42, ASF Euro- 
pean Theater 1942-43. 



satisfied." 107 General Lee, fully appreciat- 
ing the need for long-range supply plan- 
ning, also urged that, although all effort 
at the moment was focused on the North 
African mission, planning for Roundup 
should be resumed and its logistic needs 
estimated as far in advance as possible. 108 

The theater commander and the SOS 
commander initially also shared the view 
that the preparation for accommodating 
U.S. troops and supplies should continue. 
Early in October General Eisenhower de- 
creed that all storage and hospital facil- 
ities previously planned be constructed 
"without interruption or modification." 109 
General Lee agreed that there should be 
no alteration or retardation in the Bolero 
construction program, on the assumption 
that the build-up of the first contingent 
would merely be the first step toward com- 
pletion of the full Bolero program as out- 
lined in the Second Edition of the Key 
Plan; which, he noted, "remains the 
measure of the total commitment." This 
policy was transmitted to both General 
Wootten of the Combined Committee and 
the chiefs of services. 110 

The determination to continue U.K. 
preparations for an eventual cross-Chan- 
nel operation found strong expression in 
the November revision of the Bolero Key 
Plan. The Third Edition was published by 
the British Deputy Quartermaster Gen- 
eral on 11 November. It reflected the un- 
avoidable impact of Torch on the rate of 
the U.S. build-up by using the troop basis 
figure of 427,000 as a short-term planning 
figure or build-up target. Beyond this, 
however, the Third Edition reflected a 
firm conviction on the part of British and 
U.S. planners in the United Kingdom 
that the original Bolero program would 
be fully implemented. The object of the 
plan remained, as before, the development 

of the United Kingdom as a base from 
which U.S. forces could develop and sus- 
tain offensive operations, and the prep- 
aration for the reception, accommodation, 
and maintenance of U.S. forces in the 
United Kingdom. For its long-range troop 
basis the Third Edition used the original 
figure of 1,049,000. 

The only essential difference between 
the newly revised plan and the Second 
Edition of July was the assumption that 
the million-man force would now be built 
up by stages, the target of the first stage 
being the build-up of a balanced force of 
427,000 men. General Wootten hoped 
that the build-up of this first contingent 
could be achieved by May 1943, assuming 
that the full Bolero rate of sailings (100,- 
000 men per month) would be resumed in 
January. In this first phase the highest 
priority for shipping was expected to go to 
the air forces and to the SOS. The plan 
assumed that further arrivals of U.S. 
troops were likely to continue without 
pause toward the completion of the entire 
original Bolero program by the end of 
1943. 111 

Thus, while acknowledging the limita- 
tion which Torch immediately imposed 
on the build-up, the Bolero planners ac- 
cepted it only as a temporary postpone- 
ment ox delay. The Deputy Quartermaster 

107 Ltrs, Eisenhower to Marshall, 7 and 12 Oct 42, 
OPD381 ETO, I, 1-13, and II, 14-60. 

108 Ltr, Lee to Somervell, 30 Oct 42, ASF European 
Theater 1942-43. 

109 Ltr, Hq ETO to GG SOS, 2 Oct 42, sub: Modi- 
fying Plan for Bolero, as cited in ETO Medical Serv- 
ice History, Gh. II, p. 46, ETO Adm 581. 

110 Ltr, Lee to Wootten, 19 Oct 42, and Memo, Hq 
ETO for Chiefs of Svcs, 3 Nov 42, sub: Construction 
Program, as quoted in ETO Medical Service History, 
Ch. II, p. 47. 

111 Key Plan for the Reception, Accommodation, 
and Maintenance of the U.S. Forces (Third Edition), 
DQMG(L) Paper 11,11 Nov 42, ETO DQMG(L) 



General confidently noted that the devel- 
opment of the United Kingdom as a base 
for offensive operations was therefore to 
continue along the lines originally envis- 
aged. His plan underscored the following 
statement: "No retardation will therefore 
be made in the rate of provision of admin- 
istrative installations etc., required in con- 
nection with offensive operations. The 
necessary planning and construction will 
continue with the maximum degree of 

The British Southern Command, antic- 
ipating the Third Edition by several weeks 
with its own interim plan pertaining to the 
Southern Base Section area, had also 
given expression to the assumption, em- 
phasizing that the "Bolero 2nd Key Plan 
is not dead." It bravely asserted that, al- 
though the flow of cargo and troops would 
be reduced for a time, work would pro- 
ceed on all new construction projects in 
the Southern Command under the Second 
Edition of the Key Plan, whether already 
begun or not, 112 When the Third Edition 
of the Key Plan appeared early in Novem- 
ber it called for an expansion program of 
substantially the same magnitude as had 
the July plan— 15,000,000 square feet of 
covered storage, 90,000 beds, and so on. 

By that time, however, the theater com- 
mander himself began to question the ad- 
visability of carrying forward the program 
at the old rate or of using U.S. materials 
and military labor to complete the con- 
struction projects in view of the much 
smaller interim troop basis. 113 General 
Marshall and General Somervell con- 
firmed his doubts. The heavy demands for 
both supplies and shipping for the North 
African operation prompted them to di- 
rect that neither construction nor the ship- 
ment of supplies to the United Kingdom 
was to exceed the needs of the 427,000- 

man force. They noted that any construc- 
tion beyond those needs must be met from 
British labor and without lend-lease ma- 
terials. 114 General Eisenhower had already 
tentatively notified the British War Office 
that the continuation of the hospital and 
depot construction program would have 
to be accepted "by unilateral action" on 
its part, 115 and the War Office was now 
definitely informed that any projects in 
excess of the revised needs would have to 
be carried out by British labor and 
materials. 116 

The decision to curtail expansion of 
U.S. facilities in the United Kingdom re- 
flected an uncertainty about future action 
which, curiously enough, was more evi- 
dent in Washington than in London. Brit- 
ish officials had consistently pressed for 
the earliest possible resumption of full- 
scale Bolero troop shipments, the stock- 
ing of supplies, and an undiminished 
construction program. Throughout this 
period they maintained that no alterations 
in the Bolero project were admissible 
without a new directive from the Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff, and that the build- 
up had simply been retarded. 117 For some 
time, therefore, a "Gilbertian" situation 
existed as a result of the divergent opinions 

112 Bolero 3rd (Interim) Key Plan, Oct 42, ETO 
DQMG(L) Papers. 

113 Gbl 4759, Eisenhower to Somervell, 1 1 Nov 42, 
GofS Papers on Torch, 8 Nov-9 Dec 42, Smith 
Papers, Dept of Army Library. 

114 Gbl R-3150, Marshall to Eisenhower, 14 Nov 
42, GofS Papers on Torch, Smith Papers; Ltr, Somer- 
vell to Lee, 17 Nov 42, ETO 381 Roundup Jul- 

115 Ltr, Hq ETO to Under-Secy of State for War, 
WO, 10 Nov 42, sub: Bolero Third Key Plan, ETO 
AG 381 5440 May- Dec 42. 

116 Ltr, Hartle to COS Com, 19 Nov 42, sub: Re- 
vised Program for SOS Construction and Opn, Smith 

117 The Bolero Project, extract monograph prep by 
Q(Ops) Hist, WO, mimeo, OCMH. 



held regarding the planning figures. Re- 
cent communications from the War De- 
partment hinted that the original Bolero- 
Roundup concept had already been 
modified (presumably by the deep com- 
mitment in the Mediterranean area), and 
the theater commander had therefore 
suggested that a review of the entire stra- 
tegic situation was necessary in order to 
determine whether the present program 
should be modified, abandoned com- 
pletely, or pushed forward aggressively. 118 
It was because of this uncertainty that the 
theater commander had tentatively cur- 
tailed the U.S. participation in the U.K. 
preparations. American doubts about 
Roundup were undoubtedly inspired by 
the suspicion that the British concept of a 
cross-Channel operation differed from 
that held by U.S. planners, and there was 
little disposition on the part of General 
Marshall to permit a full-scale build-up in 
the United Kingdom until the Combined 
Chiefs agreed on an operation the execu- 
tion of which was not predicated on a 
crack in German morale. The resumption 
of the full Bolero program therefore de- 
pended on a firm decision and meeting of 
minds on combined future strategy. 119 

By the late summer of 1942 work had 
started on a building program (including 
that of the Air Ministry) which the Lon- 
don Combined Committee valued at ap- 
proximately $685,000,000, and which by 
the end of October was estimated to be 
approximately 18 percent completed. 120 
After the launching of Torch, in accord- 
ance with instructions from theater head- 
quarters, 121 a resurvey was made of all 
U.S. requirements, including troop ac- 
commodations, hospitals, depot space, and 
air force installations. The smaller troop 
basis made it apparent that a large num- 
ber of installations then under construc- 

tion or planned either would not be 
required at all or would be improperly lo- 
cated. The reorientation of the ground 
force program was considerably more 
urgent than that of the air force since air 
operations were to continue. Ground force 
strength would be the last to be rebuilt. 

Little difficulty had been encountered 
in providing troop accommodations. Some 
new quarters were constructed, but for the 
most part they were obtained either by the 
transfer of accommodations as they stood 
or by the expansion, conversion, or adap- 
tation of existing facilities. 122 The survey 
of personnel accommodations in October 
revealed that there would be little diffi- 
culty in housing the reduced force, and a 
policy of deferring construction of most 
housing facilities was adopted. 123 

In the matter of covered storage accom- 
modations, there likewise was little diffi- 
culty in meeting the early requirements. 
By the end of August the short-term target 
of 5,000,000 square feet had already been 
exceeded. 124 Early in November the Con- 
struction and Quartering Division of the 
chief engineer's office in a directive to the 
base sections confirmed the intent of the 
Third Edition of the Bolero plan that 
depot construction would not be halted. 

118 Ltr, Hq ETO to Under-Secy of State for War, 
WO, 10 Nov 42, sub: Bolero Third Key Plan, ETO 
AG 381 5440 May-Dec 42. 

119 Min, 322d Mtg, COS Com, 20 Nov 42, Smith 

120 Memo, Sir Findlater Stewart to Lord Pres of 
Council, 23 Nov 42, ETO BGG Bk 2. 

121 Ltr, Hq ETO to GG SOS, 19 Nov 42, sub: Re- 
vised Program for SOS Construction and Opn, Smith 

122 Quartering (United Kingdom), Hist Rpt 8, 
Corps of Engrs ETO, prep by Ln Sec, Int Div, OGofE 
ETO, Aug 45, MS, pp. 12-13, ETO Adm. 

123 Field and Service Force Construction (United 
Kingdom), Hist Rpt 7, Corps of Engrs ETO, Aug 45, 
MS, pp. 75, 148-49, ETO Adm. 

124 Min, 13th Mtg, Bolero Accommodations Sub- 
Committee, 25 Aug 42, ETO BGC Bk 2. 



The division announced that work was to 
be expedited on some of the depot sites 
and would continue on the remaining 
projects which had already been planned 
and approved. Early in December, how- 
ever, the chief engineer gave the base sec- 
tion commanders a modified program, 
bringing the construction schedule into 
line with the immediate needs of the 
427,000-man force. 125 

The medical program met much the 
same fate so far as American participation 
in construction was concerned. By the end 
of August almost the entire program as 
outlined in the July edition of the Bolero 
plan was fixed, and construction had be- 
gun on two 1,000-bed hospitals and ten of 
the thirty-five 750-bed station hospitals. 
Ten 1,250-man conversion camps, later to 
be turned into 750-bed hospitals, were be- 
ing built in the Southern Command. In 
addition, eleven militia camps had been 
turned over by the British and their con- 
version ordered, the expansion of five 
Emergency Medical Service hospitals had 
begun, and four British military hospitals 
were already occupied. Plans were ready 
for additional station hospitals and for an- 
other type of convertible installation 
known as the dual-purpose camp, de- 
signed primarily to serve as a general hos- 
pital after D Day, but so planned that the 
ward buildings could be used as barracks 
until that time. 126 

In November, however, the chief sur- 
geon was compelled to revise the program, 
and the total requirements were reduced 
by more than half, from approximately 
90,000 beds to 37,900. 127 The reduced pro- 
gram involved the loss of all the militia 
camps except 2, all of the convertible 
camps in Southern Command, and about 
25 other planned hospitals — a reduction 
from approximately 130 hospitals to 45. 

This drastic cut was not desired by the 
chief surgeon and was definitely against 
the wishes of the British, who argued that 
there would not be time to carry out a 
large construction program after the 
build-up was resumed, and that medical 
services would therefore fall far short of 
demands. Construction already lagged be- 
hind schedule in the fall of 1942, and the 
chief surgeon became seriously concerned 
over the critical shortage of beds, particu- 
larly when it was learned that the United 
Kingdom would have to receive some of 
the casualties from North Africa. At the 
end of the year there were only 4 general 
hospitals, 4 station hospitals, and 1 evacu- 
ation hospital in operation in the United 
Kingdom, with a capacity of about 5,000 
beds. No other accommodation problem 
caused as much concern at the end of 
1942, and General Hawley repeatedly 
brought the problem to the attention of 
General Lee and the Bolero Sub-Com- 
mittee on Medical Services. Fortunately, 
British officials decided to continue the 
building program without U.S. aid, and 
the close friendship and understanding be- 
tween the U.S. and British staffs, backed 

125 Engr Hist Rpt 7, pp. 135-36, cited above, n. 
123; Memo, CofS ETO for CG ETO, Dec 42, sub: 
Revised Program for SOS Construction and Oper- 
ation, with Ind, 21 Dec 42, USFET 600.1 Construc- 
tion of Buildings. 

126 ETO Medical Service History, Ch. VII, pp. 

127 By this time the theater surgeon had altered 
somewhat the basis on which bed requirements were 
calculated, raising those for sick and nonbattle casual- 
ties from 3 to 4 percent. This increase was justified, 
General Hawley stated, because the assumptions on 
which original estimates had been made had not ma- 
terialized. Chiefly, troop accommodation standards 
were lower than expected, resulting in overcrowding 
and therefore more sickness, a convalescent hospital 
had not been provided as planned, and the lack of 
hospital ships had prevented following evacuation 
policies. Ibid., Ch. II, pp. 44-45. 



by a gentleman's agreement, made some 
progress possible. 128 

Air force construction plans underwent 
frequent changes in the first year, owing 
mainly to fluctuations in the planned 
build-up of air forces in the United King- 
dom. Nevertheless, substantial progress 
was made in both airfield and air depot 
construction in the early months. By the 
late summer of 1942 a relatively firm 
agreement had been reached with the 
British providing for the transfer or con- 
struction of a total of 98 airfields — 23 
fighter and 75 bomber. To meet this re- 
quirement 61 existing fields were allotted 
for transfer from the RAF, many of them 
requiring alterations or expansion. By the 
end of August contracts had been let for 
38 extensions., and work was then under 
way on about half of these, the bomber 
installations having first priority. Sites for 
new fields were being reconnoitered and 
selected. 129 While the Eighth Air Force 
was to have priority over both the SOS 
and ground forces in rebuilding its 
strength in the United Kingdom, there 
was little prospect that it would regain 
even its former size very quickly, and the 
air force construction program, like the 
others, was therefore scaled down to fit the 
new troop basis. In the fall of 1942 the 
number of authorized bomber airfields 
was cut from 75 to 62, and the construc- 
tion program consequently underwent a 
revision, with 49 fields scheduled for 
immediate construction. 130 

British firms carried out the greater part 
of the construction program in the United 
Kingdom. Whatever construction, includ- 
ing air force needs, was undertaken by 
U.S. military labor was the responsibility 
of the SOS. In the case of air force require- 
ments, planning was carried out by the 
Eighth Air Force, subject to the approval 

of the SOS which actually executed the 
work. The SOS controlled all engineer 
units, including aviation engineer battal- 
ions. The Eighth Air Force regarded this 
arrangement as cumbersome and tending 
to delay construction, and in the summer 
of 1942 it had an opportunity to protest. 
During the preparations for Torch the 
British ports were hard pressed to cope 
with the increasing tonnages arriving in 
the United Kingdom, and General Lee 
diverted 4,500 engineer troops to alleviate 
the port labor shortage. Included in this 
transfer were certain aviation engineer 
units, which supposedly were taken off air 
force construction projects. The Eighth 
Air Force took the occasion to protest the 
whole arrangement for services to the air 
forces. It wanted control of the aviation 
engineers, which it proposed to integrate 
into the organic structure of the combat 
air elements, and based its demand largely 
on the argument that air units must have 
their own service elements as an organic 
part of their team in order to achieve mo- 
bility in combat operations. This goal was 
impossible, it argued, if the air forces were 
dependent on the SOS and if its service 
units, such as aviation engineers, could be 
arbitrarily diverted to other duty. 131 

Actually, the lag in air force construc- 
tion was only remotely related to the di- 
version of aviation engineers. General Lee, 

128 Ibid., Ch. VII, pp. 15-19; Min, 12th Mtg, Med 
Svcs Sub-Committee BCC(L), 25 Nov 42, ETO 
BCG(L) Bk 2; The Bolero Project, extract monograph 
prep by Q(Ops) Hist, WO, mimeo, OCMH. 

12a Min, 13th Mtg, Bolero Accommodations Sub- 
Committee, 25 Aug 42, ETO BCC(L) Bk 2; Air Force 
Construction (United Kingdom), Hist Rpt 6, Corps 
oFEngrs ETO, Aug 45, MS, p. 7. 

150 Craven and Cate, The Army Air Forces, II, 602. 

111 Memo, Maj Gen Walter H. Frank, VIII AFSC, 
for CG Eighth AF, 30 Sep 42, sub: Aviation Engr 
Battalions, with Inds, USFET 600.1 Construction 
General 1942. 



while noting the reluctance with which he 
had temporarily transferred the aviation 
engineers to port duty in the emergency, 
pointed out that these engineers had not 
even begun work on air force construction 
projects because their equipment had not 
arrived. 132 Late in November the aviation 
engineers were returned to the air force 
projects, but the control of these troops 
remained with the SOS. 133 

The curtailment of the U.K. construc- 
tion program reflects very well the low 
position which the Bolero concept had 
reached at the end of 1942. Withdrawals 
of U.S. troops from the United Kingdom 
were not substantially completed until 
February 1943, when American strength 
in Britain was reduced to less than 
105,000, but the full impact of the North 
African operation was evident by the end 
of 1942, when prospects for the Bolero- 
Roundup design reached their nadir. 
Planning for a cross-Channel invasion 
continued on both the operational and 
administrative side, but commanded little 
enthusiasm or urgency in the atmosphere 
of uncertainty that prevailed. 134 The 
Combined Committee virtually sus- 
pended its activities for almost three 
months after the launching of Torch 
early in November. In no other period 
was the status of the Bolero build-up and 
the Key Plan more uncertain or vague, 
and in no other period were U.S. forces in 
the United Kingdom so restricted in their 

For the most part this limitation was 
imposed by the lack of service forces. 
Early in October General Lee warned the 
theater commander that the service troops 
remaining in the United Kingdom — 
about 32,000 — would be inadequate to 
operate essential installations. Further- 
more, they were not balanced as to types. 

It was at this time — in the midst of the 
Torch preparations — that the SOS com- 
mander announced his intention to use 
both SOS and aviation engineers for 
temporary relief of the labor shortage. He 
took this step reluctantly, realizing that 
vitally important construction projects 
would have to be stopped. The British 
War Office had already provided 2,600 
civilians and 5,000 soldiers to meet the 
current emergency. 135 General Lee had 
foreseen these needs, and in mid-Septem- 
ber had submitted a revised SOS troop 
basis to theater headquarters, urging the 
highest possible priority for the shipment 
of engineer construction troops. He now 
repeated this request, asking for an im- 
mediate shipment of 10,000 service troops 
in the priority requested and urging that 
units not be withheld for lack of complete 
training. They could complete their train- 
ing in the United Kingdom, he pointed 
out, while performing their assigned serv- 
ice tasks. 136 Two months later the War 
Department announced a small shipment 
of service troops, some of them coming 
directly from reception centers and with 
barely a month's training. 137 

'■'-Ibid., 2d Ind, CG SOS for CG Eighth AF, 10 
Oct 42. 

133 Memo, GofS for G-4 SOS, 16 Nov 42, USFET 
600.1 Construction General. 

134 In order that administrative planning could be 
carried on, an operational plan calling for the prin- 
cipal landings in the Rouen-Dieppe area was used 
as a basis for preliminary planning by the supply 
services. It was highly tentative and served mainly as 
a planning exercise in the absence of a firm opera- 
tional plan. Gen Griner, G-4 ETO, Directive for 
Roundup Administrative Planning, 7 Oct 42, 
EUGOM 334 Misc RAP Papers 1942. 

135 Ltr ; Lee to CG ETO, 6 Oct 42, sub: SOS Troop 
and Labor Situation, SOS AG 320,2 SOS Jun 
42-Jul 43. 

1M Ibid.; Ltr, Lee to CG ETO, 17 Sep 42, sub: 
Troop Basis and Priorities for SOS Troops, SOS AG 

137 Cbl R-3315, Marshall to Eisenhower, 19 Nov 
42, SOS AG 320.2. 



At the same time the War Department 
indicated that it was not satisfied that 
ETOUSA was carrying out its supply mis- 
sion and criticized the theater for continu- 
ing to call on the British without employing 
its own forces to full advantage. Through- 
out 1942 the United Kingdom remained 
an indispensable source of both supplies 
and services for U.S. forces. General Lee 
reported in October, for example, that, 
because of the continued shortage of serv- 
ice troops of proper types, the British 
Army was feeding approximately 50,000 
American troops, 138 The War Department 
reminded the theater that there was an 
extreme shortage of service troops through- 
out the world. The 1942 troop basis gave 
preference to the activation of combat 
units, and little progress had been made 
in correcting the imbalance. Furthermore, 
the War Department felt that on a per- 
centage basis the ETO had its authorized 
quota of service troops, and it was there- 
fore difficult to sell the War Department 
the idea that the ETO required imme- 
diate remedial action. A few depot 
companies were being dispatched, but 
beyond these most service units were ear- 
marked for theaters with a higher priority 
than ETOUSA, 139 In a letter to all thea- 
ters in December the War Department 
issued a threefold admonition which was 
to be repeated many times: the number of 
service units must be kept to a minimum; 
the theaters were to adopt every expedient 
to increase the ratio of combat to service 
elements; the logistical organization of all 
forces must be critically examined with a 
view toward eliminating duplication of 
services, overlapping of functions, and 
top-heavy administrative overhead. 140 

In accordance with this directive Gen- 
eral Lee ordered the base section com- 
manders to review their entire personnel 

situation with the aim of effecting econ- 
omies. He even suggested closing certain 
active installations or utilizing them for 
dead storage only, if necessary. 141 Less 
than two weeks later two of the base sec- 
tion commanders replied that no savings 
could be made, and that, if anything, 
there was need for an expansion rather 
than a reduction in the number of installa- 
tions. The Southern Base Section com- 
mander, Colonel Thrasher, concluded 
that without adequate troops there was no 
choice but to close certain depots. 142 It 
was obviously difficult to accept the loss of 
priority which the United Kingdom had 
momentarily enjoyed. But until the impli- 
cations of the North African campaign 
became manifest, U.S. forces in Britain 
were forced to retrench. The uncertainties 
attending the future of Bolero were not 
to be dispelled for several months. 

Early in 1943 the stage was set for 
relieving U.S. forces in the United King- 
dom from all responsibility for the Torch 
operation, and in February a complete 
break was made between the commands 
of the two areas. General Eisenhower's 
appointment as Allied Commander in 
Chief in August 1942 had placed him in 
a dual role, for he continued to be the 
commanding general of ETOUSA, Since 
Torch was to take place outside the limits 
of the European theater the question 

138 Ltr, Lee to CG ETO, 6 Oct 42. 

139 Ltr, Littlejohn to Lee, 4 Dec 42, sub: SOS 
Troops, SOS AG 320.2 SOS Jun 42-Jul 43. 

140 Ltr, Secy War to Theater Comd, 10 Dec 42, 
sub: Economy of Forces, SOS 320.2 Economy of 
Forces, Dec 42-Jan 43. 

141 TWX, Lee to CGs Base Sees, 2 Jan 43, SOS 
320.2 Economy of Forces. 

142 Ltrs, Base Sec Comdrs to CG SOS, 31 Dec 
42 and 14 Jan 43, and Ltr, Lee to CG ETO, 10 Feb 
43, sub: Economy of Forces, SOS 320.2 Economy of 



arose as to whether he should continue in 
his dual role once the operation was 
launched. In August it was determined 
that the boundaries of the theater simply 
would be extended southward temporarily 
to include the new area of operations. For 
the first few months of his absence General 
Eisenhower proposed that General Lee be 
appointed his executive deputy to handle 
affairs in the United Kingdom, reserving 
for himself the right to intervene where 
necessary. He suggested that the North 
African area be detached from ETOUSA 

and a new theater created as soon as the 
Torch force was firmly established. Esti- 
mating that the separation could be 
effected about two months after the land- 
ings, he recommended that General Lee 
then be given command of the ETO. This 
arrangement was agreeable to General 
Marshall, and on 18 August the bound- 
aries of the European theater were ex- 
tended southward to include northwest 
Africa. (Map 3) The proposed delegation 
of powers was eventually carried out after 
Torch was launched, but on General 



Lee's suggestion the appointment as 
deputy went to General Hartle, the senior 
commander in the United Kingdom. 143 In 
general, the deputy commander was 
authorized to act on all matters in the 
theater except those pertaining to Torch 
and those which according to regulations 
required the theater commander's per- 
sonal attention. 

The organization of AFHQ soon left its 
mark on the U.S. theater headquarters. 
Just as Bolero was subordinated to the 
interests of the Torch operation, so also 
was Headquarters, ETO, overshadowed 
by AFHQ. Both General Eisenhower and 
his chief of staff, General Smith, were 
residents at AFHQ in Algiers, and since 
Torch became the major preoccupation 
most of the important business was trans- 
acted at the Allied headquarters, 
ETOUSA, however, was not completely 
subordinated to AFHQ, and General 
Smith made it a point to maintain the 
theater headquarters as a separate organ- 
ization, keeping in mind its long-range 
mission in the United Kingdom. It there- 
fore continued by design to handle all 
routine matters for U.S. forces in the 
United Kingdom, while AFHQ handled 
Torch matters. The relationship between 
the two remained somewhat vague, how- 
ever, and neither ETOUSA nor SOS was 
brought very closely into the Torch pic- 
ture except through those officers who 

held dual positions on the AFHQ and 
theater staffs. 

With the departure of General Eisen- 
hower to Gibraltar, his first command 
post, a rear echelon of AFHQ under 
General Smith continued to handle 
Torch matters for a time. By Christmas 
1942, however, the rear echelon had also 
departed and the rear echelon functions 
of AFHQ fell to ETOUSA, which was 
considerably handicapped for the reasons 
mentioned above. Within another month, 
more or less as planned, ETOUSA began 
to drop out of the picture as the North 
African forces drew more and more of 
their support directly from the United 
States. The time had therefore come for a 
complete divorce of the North African 
area from the United Kingdom. Effective 
on 3 February 1943 the boundaries of the 
ETO were redrawn to exclude the North 
African area, and also the Iberian and 
Italian peninsulas, which were incor- 
porated into the new North African The- 
ater of Operations (NATO) under General 
Eisenhower. On 4 February the ETO 
received a new commanding general in 
the person of Lt. Gen. Frank M. Andrews, 
who had commanded U.S. forces in the 
Middle East. 144 

143 Interv with Gen Lee, 8 Aug 51, ETO Adm 
5 1 7 Intervs. 

144 Organization and Command, I, 148-54, 
156-67; 170-74. 


The Build-up in Stride, 1943 

(1 ) BOLERO in Limbo, January-April 1943 

January 1943 brought renewed hope 
that the movement of U.S. troops to the 
United Kingdom would be resumed. The 
scale of the build-up obviously depended 
on a firm decision on future strategy. Late 
in November 1942 President Roosevelt, 
encouraged by the initial success of the 
Torch operation, suggested to Prime 
Minister Churchill the desirability of an 
early decision, and a few days later asked 
General Marshall for estimates on the 
number of men that could be shipped to 
both the United Kingdom and North 
Africa in the next four months. 1 

OPD made a study of shipping capabil- 
ities and reported that 150,000 troops 
could be shipped to England by mid- 
April, assuming that there was no further 
augmentation of the North African force 
after the middle of January. 2 The acceler- 
ation of movements to the United King- 
dom depended largely on the demands on 
shipping from North Africa and on the 
availability of adequate escorts. Demands 
from North Africa, coupled with a con- 
tinuing shortage of shipping, had caused 
a drastic amendment of earlier plans for a 
build-up of the 427,000-man force in the 
United Kingdom by the spring of 1943. 
Current plans called for shipment of only 
32,000 men in the next four months. 3 

Future Allied strategy to follow Torch 

had remained undecided throughout the 
fall of 1942, and the War Department was 
not inclined to favor a large build-up in 
the United Kingdom even if shipping 
were available. In January 1943 the Al- 
lied leaders met at Casablanca to resolve 
this uncertainty. By that time the world 
outlook was considerably brighter than it 
had been six months before. The Red 
armies had frustrated the first German at- 
tempt to break through in the Caucasus 
and were now on the offensive; Rommel 
had been beaten in North Africa and the 
Allied vise was closing on the German 
forces in Tunisia; and the land and sea ac- 
tions at Guadalcanal had checked Japa- 
nese expansion in the South Pacific. But 
whatever optimism was inspired by the 
more favorable situation on these fronts 
was sobered by the gloomy aspect pre- 
sented by the war on the seas. In spite of 
the rising production figures of the Amer- 
ican shipyards, Allied shipping losses con- 
tinued to exceed replacements throughout 
1942. In the first months of 1943 the 
U-boat attacks reached their full fury. 
The shortage of shipping consequently re- 

1 Ltr, Roosevelt to Churchill, 30 Nov 42, WDAG 
CofS 334 JGS; Memo, Brig Gen John R. Deane for 
OPD, 10 Dec 42, OPD 370.5 ETO, Sec 1, 1-63. 

2 Memo, Handy for Marshall, 18 Dec 42, sub: Ship- 
ment of Troops to U.K., OPD 370.5 ETO, Sec 1, 

3 Memo, GofS for President, n. d., OPD 370.5 
ETO, Sec 1, 1-63. 



mained the severest stricture to Allied 
plans and prevented full utilization of the 
Allied war potential 

The Casablanca decisions recognized 
the Atlantic as one of the most important 
battlefields of the war by giving the fight 
against the submarine menace the first 
charge against United Nations resources. 
In view of the competing demands of the 
North African area and the Russian aid 
program on the limited shipping resources 
it was hopeless to think of a full-scale 
cross-Channel operation in 1943. The 
Allied leaders decided instead to continue 
the offensive in the Mediterranean. The 
invasion of Sicily was to be the major ef- 
fort of 1943. Regarding operations from 
the United Kingdom, the Allied leaders 
gave impetus to air operations by assign- 
ing high priority to the inauguration of a 
combined bomber offensive, but their de- 
cisions fell somewhat short of a definitive 
commitment on Roundup. Nevertheless, 
two decisions were made which confirmed 
the basic assumption that there would still 
be a cross-Channel operation. It was 
agreed to establish a combined command 
and planning staff in the United Kingdom 
to plan for cross-Channel raids and for a 
possible return to the Continent under 
varying conditions in 1943 or 1944, and a 
corollary agreement was reached to rein- 
state the Bolero build-up. Both the Prime 
Minister and the President were anxious 
to build up forces in the United Kingdom, 
and President Roosevelt urged that a 
definite build-up schedule be prepared so 
that the potential effort of Allied forces in 
the United Kingdom could be estimated 
at any time to take advantage of any sign 
of German weakness. 4 General Somervell 
calculated that shipping capabilities 
would permit only small movements in 
the first six months, and the Prime Min- 

ister expressed disappointment that only 
four divisions would arrive by mid- August. 
But the shortage of cargo shipping made 
it impracticable to schedule a more rapid 
troop build-up at first, since, as it was 
pointed out, there was no point in sending 
units without their equipment. 5 After the 
middle of the year it was estimated that 
the rate of shipping could be vastly in- 
creased, and that a total of 938,000 troops, 
including fifteen to nineteen divisions, 
could be dispatched to the United King- 
dom by the end of 1943. Added to the 
present strength in Britain, this would 
result in a build-up of 1 ,1 1 8,000 men. 6 

While the Casablanca Conference did 
not give a definite pledge regarding a 
cross-Channel attack, its decision to re- 
sume the Bolero build-up on such a scale 
reinforced the belief that Roundup even- 
tually would take place. The estimate that 
nearly a million men and their equipment 
could be transported to the United King- 
dom in the next eleven months was highly 
optimistic in view of the chronic shortage 
of shipping and the continued demands 
on Allied resources from the Mediterra- 
nean area and the USSR. Nevertheless, 
the Casablanca decision on Bolero was 
welcome news to those in the United 
Kingdom who once before had begun 
preparations for such a build-up and had 
then seen the ETO experience a sudden 
bloodletting and loss of priority. 

Theater officials were fully aware of the 
task which a revived program would pre- 
sent. To move nearly a million men with 
their supplies would mean the reception of 

4 2d Anfa (Casablanca) Mtg, 18 Jan 43,JCS Hist 

5 3d Anfa Mtg, 23 Jan 43. 

6 CCS Paper 172, 22 Jan 43. U.S. strength in the 
United Kingdom on 1 January stood at approxi- 
mately 135,000, but was to suffer further losses to 



about 150 ships per month in the last 
quarter of the year, with all the attendant 
problems of discharge, inland transporta- 
tion, storage, and construction. General 
Lee had attended the conference in Casa- 
blanca, and even before leaving North 
Africa took the first steps to get planning 
under way for the task which he knew the 
SOS would have to shoulder. On 28 Jan- 
uary he wrote informally to Maj. Gen. 
Wilhelm D. Styer, chief of staff of the War 
Department SOS, giving him advance 
notice of some of the requests for service 
troops which he expected to make shortly 
through official channels. 7 A few days 
later he informed General Littlejohn, who 
was acting for Lee in the latter's absence, 
of the decision to resume the build-up and 
instructed him to study the implications 
with Lee's British opposite, Gen. T. S. 
Riddell-Webster, the Quartermaster Gen- 
eral. 8 Before departing for North Africa 
General Lee had instructed his staff to 
draw up two supply and accommodation 
plans, one based on the current troop basis 
of 427,000, and another for the then hypo- 
thetical force of a million men. 9 

The renewed confidence which the SOS 
now felt for the build-up of the ETO was 
expressed on 5 February in the announce- 
ment that planning for the movement of 
a large force to the United Kingdom 
would no longer be considered as a staff 
school problem, but would be worked out 
as a firm program as expeditiously as pos- 
sible. Complete plans on personnel, stor- 
age and housing, construction, transporta- 
tion, and supply were to be developed, 
with the G-4 co-ordinating all plans. 10 
The reinstatement of Bolero also brought 
the Bolero Combined Committee of Lon- 
don together for the first time in several 
months. 11 

The year 1943 found the ETOUSA and 

SOS staffs considerably better prepared to 
plan for the reception and accommoda- 
tion of U.S. forces than they had been six 
months earlier. Their experience in the 
summer of 1942 had made them more 
aware than ever of one essential prerequi- 
site to such an undertaking — the advance 
arrival of sufficient service troops to pre- 
pare the necessary accommodations and 
facilities. This was even more imperative 
in 1943 than it had been earlier because 
of the unavailability of British labor. Brit- 
ish officials had pointed out at the Casa- 
blanca Conference that the proposed ship- 
ments (150 ships per month at the peak) 
could be handled only if U.S. dock labor 
and locomotives were forthcoming. 12 
There was also a shortage of depot space. 
The British had stopped construction be- 
cause of their own manpower shortages 
and because of the reduced requirements 
for the smaller 427,000-man troop basis. 
They therefore urged that U.S. service 
personnel be included in the earliest ar- 
rivals. 13 It was precisely this problem that 
General Lee had in mind when he wrote 
to General Styer from North Africa late in 
January. He asked for 30 port battalions, 
30 engineer regiments, 15 quartermaster 
service battalions, and about 30 depot 
companies of various categories. All these 
would be necessary in order to discharge 
the 120-150 ships per month, construct 
the needed depots, properly store and is- 
sue equipment and supplies, and carry out 

7 Ltr, Lee to Styer, 28 Jan 43, ASF GofS ETO 

8 Gbl 8833, Lee to Littlejohn, 4 Feb 43, USFET 
381 54-40 Bolero. 

9 Ltr, Hq SOS to Chiefs of Svcs and Stf, 15 Jan 43, 
sub: SOS Ping, SOS 381 SOS Ping, Jan-Feb 43. 

10 Hq SOS, Basic Ping Dir 1, Personnel, 5 Feb 43, 
ETO 381 Opns Data, Basic Ping Dir 1. 

11 BGG(L) Min, 18 Feb 43, ETO Preinvasion 322. 

12 CCS 172, 22 Jan 43. 

13 CCS Min, 65th Mtg, 2 1 Jan 43, 



the airfield construction program. He 
pointed out that the U.S. forces had been 
caught short of service troops in the sum- 
mer of 1 942 and had got by only by the 
emergency use of British labor and even 
combat units. This remedy could not be 
tried again. U.S. forces must become more 
self-sufficient and the SOS portion of the 
revived Bolero program must be larger. 
Lee punctuated his argument with a les- 
son from history, quoting General Per- 
shing who in 1918 had made a similar 
appeal for advance shipments of SOS 
troops for the necessary construction proj- 
ects. With the experience of August and 
September 1942 fresh in his memory, Gen- 
eral Lee noted that the SOS had learned 
the hard way in the past seven months, 
and he was determined that there should 
not be a repetition of the frantic efforts of 
the previous summer. 14 

These arguments were readily seconded 
by General Lee's staff in the United King- 
dom. General Littlejohn pointed out to 
the new theater commander that the sup- 
port of the new program necessitated the 
expansion and acceleration of the SOS 
construction program and supply opera- 
tions. For this purpose he urged General 
Andrews to ask for a stepped-up ship- 
ment of SOS troops. There was sufficient 
reason for such a plea at this time. The 
SOS was already a reduced and unbal- 
anced force as a result of the losses to 
Torch. The hospital and airdrome con- 
struction programs were seriously behind 
schedule. 15 Finally, the British could not 
be expected to provide labor on the scale 
they had maintained in the summer of 
1942j and it was predicted that they would 
insist that SOS troops arrive well in 
advance of combat units. 16 

After the Casablanca decision the SOS 
staff members in the United Kingdom had 

immediately been instructed to figure 
their troop needs, which were to be used 
in formulating a service troop basis for 
presentation to the theater commander. 
Ever conscious of the repeated admoni- 
tions from the War Department and thea- 
ter headquarters to keep service troop 
demands to a minimum, the service chiefs 
felt a strong compulsion to offer the fullest 
possible justification for their stated re- 
quirements. They had two favorite and 
seemingly indisputable arguments. Almost 
without exception they were able to show 
that percentagewise they were asking for 
fewer troops than the SOS of the AEF in 
1917-18. The SOS portion of the AEF on 
1 1 November 1918 had been 33.1 percent. 
On the basis of a total build-up of 
1,118,000 men by December 1943, they 
argued, the SOS should therefore have a 
troop basis of 370,000. The chief of engi- 
neers, for example, maintained that on the 
basis of the practice in World War I, in 
which 26.9 percent of the SOS consisted of 
engineer troops, the present SOS should 
have 99,500 engineer troops. He was ask- 
ing for only 67,000. The service chiefs fur- 
ther reinforced their claims by pointing out 
that the present war was making much 
heavier demands on the services of supply. 
There had been a great increase in mech- 
anized transport, in air force supply, and in 
the fire power of weapons; there were new 
problems of handling enormous tonnages 
of gasoline and lubricants, and of con- 
structing airfields. Furthermore, in the 

14 Ltr, Lee to Styer, 28 Jan 43. 

15 Ltr, Littlejohn to GG ETO, 9 Feb 43, sub: SOS 
Manpower Requirements, ETO SOS Manpower 

16 Ltr, Ross to Lee, 6 Feb 43, SOS AG 320.2 SOS 
Jun 42-Jul 42. Approximately 58,000 laborers were 
at this time directly employed either on construction 
projects for U.S. forces, or- as stevedores. Ltr, Little- 
john to GG ETO, 17 Feb 43, sub: Current Bolero 
Ping, SOS AG 320.2 Jun 42-Jul 43. 



war of 1917-18 the U.S. Army had op- 
erated in a friendly country where port 
and transportation facilities were already 
available. Operations in Europe would 
now require landing supplies over beaches 
and restoring ports and railways. Thus, 
World War I was not even a fair basis of 
comparison so far as service troop require- 
ments were concerned. 17 

By mid-February General Littlejohn 
had assembled sufficient data on the needs 
of the various services to present the thea- 
ter commander with a tentative troop 
basis calling for a total of 358,3 1 2 men. By 
far the largest components were those of 
the Corps of Engineers, the Quartermaster 
Corps, and the Medical and Ordnance 
Departments, accounting for more than 
two thirds of the total. In presenting the 
needs of the SOS to General Andrews, 
General Littlejohn noted that every prac- 
ticable measure had been taken to reduce 
SOS needs, and he. again reviewed the 
limited possibilities of utilizing British 
labor. If it became necessary to reduce the 
SOS troop basis further, he continued, 
army and corps service units should be 
brought to the theater and made available 
to the SOS. The need for service units was 
so urgent that he even recommended se- 
curing the required manpower by break- 
ing up organizations in the United States. 
The SOS desired the highest possible ship- 
ping priority for its units and asked for a 
rapid build-up to a strength of 189,000 by 
the end of June. The most pressing need 
was for engineer construction units, and 
these were therefore given a priority sec- 
ond only to air force units for the bomber 
offensive. 18 But the air units were to be fol- 
lowed by service troops to support the 
bomber offensive, and by additional serv- 
ice troops for the Bolero program. 

It was only a matter of days before the 

hopes for this program were dashed. On 
19 February General Marshall wired the 
theater that the decision to resume the 
build-up was not firm, and that the sched- 
ules set up in September 1942 would be 
followed until a definite decision was 
reached. 19 Three days later this bad news 
was confirmed by a cable from OPD noti- 
fying the theater that there were indica- 
tions that shipping for the U.K. build-up 
would be "nothing for the months of 
March and April because of the urgency 
of the situation in another theater." The 
"other theater" was North Africa, which 
continued to make unexpected demands 
on both troops and cargo. Immediately 
after the Casablanca Conference the War 
Department had been asked to prepare a 
special convoy with urgently needed vehi- 
cles and engineer and communications 
equiprnent. Only a few days later General 
Eisenhower asked for an additional 160,- 
000 troops to arrive by June. These de- 
mands were superimposed on the require- 
ments for the planned Sicilian operation 
and entailed a great increase in cargo 
shipments to the Mediterranean. 20 The 
results for Bolero were inescapable. 
Meeting these demands meant not only a 
drain on troops and materiel but the 

17 Memo, Lt Col V. A. Rapport, Progress Div SOS, 
for CG SOS, 7 Feb 43, sub: Comparison of SOS in 
1917-18 and Now, ETO Opns Data, Basic Ping Dir 
1, Sec II, SOS Troop Program; Ltr, Littlejohn to CG 
ETO, 9 Feb 43. 

18 Ltr, Littlejohn to CG ETO, 17 Feb 43, sub: Cur- 
rent Bolero Ping, SOS AG 320.2 SOS Jun 42-Jul 43; 
Ltr, Littlejohn to CG ETO, 9 Feb 43; Basic Ping Dir 
1, Annex 4; Cbl 7234, ETO to AGWAR, 13 Feb 43, 
SOS AG 320.2. 

19 Cbl R-5983, Marshall to Andrews, 19 Feb 43, 
SOS AG 320.2. 

20 [Richard M. Leighton] The Problem of Troop 
and Cargo Flow in Preparing the European Invasion, 
1943-44, prep in Hist Sec, Control Div, ASF, 1945, 
MS (hereafter cited as Problem of Troop and Cargo 
Flow), pp. 15-16; OCMH. 



diversion of the limited shipping resources. 
The battle of the Atlantic reached its 
height in these months, and the competing 
claims of Russian aid, the support of oper- 
ations in the Mediterranean, and the Brit- 
ish civil import program on shipping 
simply precluded an immediate imple- 
mentation of the Casablanca decision on 

The inability to rebuild the U.K. forces 
as planned in January was a bitter pill for 
the planners in England. General An- 
drews thought it would do no harm as far 
as ground forces were concerned, since 
theater planners had not even been able 
to arrive at a practical plan upon which to 
set up a ground force troop basis. In fact, 
upon reflection, he thought there was one 
aspect of a slower build-up which might 
be a partial blessing. Because training 
areas and firing ranges were inadequate 
in the United Kingdom, it was preferable 
that American troops get as much training 
as possible in the United States. A delayed 
build-up would also allow the SOS to 
build a firmer foundation. 21 But the set- 
back in building a bomber force was a 
serious blow. Andrews noted that units 
needed between forty-five and sixty days 
to prepare themselves for combat after ar- 
riving in the theater, and it had been 
hoped that every available unit in the 
United States might be brought over early 
in the year to take advantage of the favor- 
able summer months. 22 Air force units in 
England were suffering from both combat 
losses and war weariness. Lacking replace- 
ments, some groups were reduced to a 
strength of 50 percent, and progressive at- 
trition was seriously lowering morale 
among the crews that remained. 23 

Cancellation of the build-up had an un- 
avoidable repercussion in the United 
Kingdom and cast a pall of uncertainty 

over all planning. General Andrews ap- 
preciated fully the desirability of proceed- 
ing with planning for cross-Channel 
operations. In anticipation of a Combined 
Chiefs directive, based on the agreement 
at Casablanca, he urged that joint plan- 
ning should again be resumed, emphasized 
particularly the importance of having a 
firm troop basis and a schedule of arrivals, 
so that U.K. planners would know what 
they were dealing with, and underlined 
the necessity of arranging for production 
and procurement of vast quantities of 
equipment, a task which would require 
many months. 24 In its never-ending at- 
tempts to get more specific commitments 
and precise data on which to base its own 
preparations, however, the SOS was again 
frustrated. The G-4 of the SOS submitted 
a list of questions to the G-4, ETOUSA, 
early in March concerning future opera- 
tional plans, the over-all troop basis, and 
levels of supply. The ETOUSA supply 
officer was helpless to offer any specific 
information on the size, place, extent, and 
timing of future offensive operations. He 
could only reply that the Casablanca pro- 
gram evidently had not been discarded 
but only delayed, and added hopefully 
that directives were expected from the 
War Department which would "permit 
planning to proceed beyond the present 
stage of conjecture." 25 

21 Ltr, Andrews to Handy, 3 Mar 43, ETO 312.1 
Andrews Correspondence 1943. 

22 Ltr, Andrews to Marshall, 26 Feb 43, ETO 312.1 
Andrews Correspondence 1943. 

23 Ltr, Gen Eaker to Andrews, 27 Feb 43, and Ltr, 
Andrews to Gen Handy, 3 Mar 43, ETO 312.1 An- 
drews Correspondence 1943; Craven and Cate, The 
Army Air Forces, II, 309. 

24 Ltr, Andrews to Gen Ismay, 17 Mar 43, ETO 
385 Methods of Conducting War. 

25 Ltr, Hq ETO to CG SOS, 13 Mar 43, sub: Ques- 
tions Concerning Operational Requirements, SOS 
AG 381 Plans. 



The SOS meanwhile continued to ana- 
lyze its troop needs with a view toward 
paring its demands even further. Late in 
March it completed a troop basis and flow 
chart calling for approximately 320,000 
service troops based on a total force of 
1,100,000 men. In submitting it to the 
theater commander General Lee asserted 
that it was the result of an exhaustive 
study by the chiefs of services and repre- 
sented the minimum requirements. The 
reduction of 40,000 in the troop basis was 
made possible largely by the decision to 
use certain service elements of both the 
ground and air forces for administrative 
purposes. 26 At the same time the SOS con- 
tinued to plead for shipments of service 
troops in advance of combat units, under- 
lining this need in every communication 
with higher headquarters. 

For the moment these plans were largely 
academic, for the shipping situation made 
it impossible to implement the Casablanca 
decision on the scale expected. In the first 
three months of 1943 only 16,000 of the 
projected shipment of 80,000 men were 
dispatched to the United Kingdom, and 
13,000 of these had already left the United 
States at the time of the Casablanca Con- 
ference. The main effect of the diversions 
to North Africa was felt in February, 
March, and April, when the flow of troops 
to the United Kingdom averaged fewer 
than 1,600 per month. 27 The effect on 
troop movements was most pronounced 
because troop shipping was even scarcer 
than cargo snipping at this time. But in 
cargo shipment the record was similar. In 
the same period the monthly cargo ar- 
rivals averaged only 35,000 long tons 
(84,000 measurement tons). 28 

At this rate the ETO was barely main- 
taining its strength after the losses to 
Torch, to say nothing of mounting an air 

offensive. Worried by the almost complete 
neglect of the United Kingdom, General 
Andrews in his last weeks as theater com- 
mander pleaded with the War Depart- 
ment not to let the build-up die. If neces- 
sary Bolero should be retarded, he 
maintained, but not halted. There should 
be a steady building up of American forces 
in Britain for an overseas operation in 
1944. At the least it was important to 
maintain the impression that American 
troops were arriving in large numbers and 
to say and do nothing which would ap- 
pear inconsistent with this conception. 
General Andrews felt that any appreciable 
slowing down of Bolero might even com- 
promise an operation in 1944, since prep- 
arations were already behind schedule. 29 
Fortunately the question of the build-up 
was soon to be resolved. 

(2) The Troop Build-up Is Resumed, May- 
December 1943 

The uncertainty regarding the United 
Kingdom build-up was finally largely dis- 
pelled in May 1943, when Allied leaders 
met at the Trident Conference in Wash- 
ington. Plans for the defeat of the Axis 
Powers in Europe were embodied in three 
major Trident decisions: to enlarge the 
U.S.-British bomber offensive from the 
United Kingdom; to exploit the projected 
Sicilian operation in a manner best cal- 

26 Ltr, Lee to CG ETO, 22 Mar 43, sub: Proposal- 
Troop Basis and Flow, SOS Troops, SOS AG 320.2; 
Memo, Lt Col Edgar T. Fell, G-l SOS, for CofS 
SOS, 9 Mar 43, sub: Ground Force Units for SOS 
Use, Basic Ping Dir 1, Sec II, SOS Troop Program. 

27 Progress Rpt, Progress Div, SOS, 4 Oct 43, ETO 
Adm 422. 

28 TC Monthly Progress Rpt, Statistics Br, OCofT 
SOS, ETO Adm 450-52. 

29 Gbl 8869, Andrews to Marshall, 1 7 Apr 43, ETO 
Eyes Only Cbls 1943-44. 



culated to eliminate Italy from the war; 
and to establish forces and equipment in 
the United Kingdom for a cross-Channel 
operation with a target date of I May 
1944. 30 

The resolution concerning a cross- 
Channel attack was not an unequivocal 
commitment, as it turned out, and Allied 
strategy was to be reargued within an- 
other few months. Nevertheless, the nam- 
ing of a date and the designation of the size 
of such an operation made it the most 
definite commitment yet accepted for the 
attack which American planners had sup- 
ported for the past year. The likelihood 
that the Bolero build-up would now be 
carried out was strengthened by a definite 
allocation of resources: twenty-nine Allied 
divisions were to be made available in the 
United Kingdom for the operation in the 
spring of 1944; and there was to be no fur- 
ther diversion of resources to the Mediter- 
ranean. In fact, four U.S. and three British 
divisions in the Mediterranean area were 
to be held in readiness after 1 November 
for movement to the United Kingdom. 31 

By May 1943 an additional factor was 
enhancing prospects for the U.K. build- 
up. After the near-record shipping losses 
in March (768,000 tons from all causes), 32 
the battle of the Atlantic took a sudden 
turn for the better. Beginning in April, 
with the increasing use of long-range and 
carrier aircraft, and of improved detection 
devices and convoy practices, the Allies 
took a mounting toll of U-boats. And as 
shipping losses fell off, the increasing out- 
put of the shipyards was reflected in the 
net gains in available tonnage. This turn 
of events was undoubtedly one of the most 
heartening developments of the war, and 
soon made it possible to plan the logistic 
support for overseas operations with con- 
siderably more confidence and on a 

greatly magnified scale. Together with the 
freezing of resources in the Mediterra- 
nean, it promised to create a tremendous 
potential for the U.K. build-up. 

The Trident planners scheduled a 
build-up of 1,300,300 American soldiers 
in the United Kingdom by 1 May 1944. 
Of these, 393,200 were to be air force 
troops, and 907,100 were to be ground 
and service troops, including eighteen and 
one-half divisions. By 1 June 1944, the 
planners calculated, a force of 1,415,300 
(twenty-one divisions) could be estab- 
lished in Britain. 33 These figures did not 
necessarily constitute a troop basis, nor 
did they reflect actual shipping capabil- 
ities. It was noted that there were actually 
more divisions available than were sched- 
uled for shipment, and the rate of build-up 
was based on what the British indicated 
could be processed through their ports, not 
on shipping capabilities. The balanced 
movement of troops and their cargo was 
actually limited by the quantity of cargo 
which could be accepted in the United 
Kingdom, the maximum practical limit 
being 150 shiploads per month except in 
absolute emergency. From this time on 
British port capacity was to be a despotic 
factor governing the build-up rate. Once 
more, therefore, the Combined Chiefs em- 
phasized the necessity for the early arrival 
of port battalions to aid in the discharge 
of ships, and engineer construction units 
to complete the needed depots. The wis- 
dom of such a policy could hardly be dis- 
puted, and at the close of the conference 
Headquarters, ETO, was notified that the 
shipment of service troops was to be given 

30 CCS 242/6, 25 May 43. 

31 Ibid. 

32 Samuel E. Morison, The Battle of the Atlantic (Bos- 
ton, 1947), p. 412. 

33 CCS 244/1, 25 May 43, Annex VII. 



a priority second only to the air force 
build-up. 34 

The ETOUSA planners welcomed the 
green light which the Trident decisions 
constituted, although they had not been 
idle despite the failure to implement the 
earlier Casablanca decisions. In the early 
months of 1943 the SOS staff had contin- 
ued to plan for the eventual flow of troops 
and cargo, and had assembled a mass of 
logistical data covering all aspects of the 
build-up, such as manpower, storage and 
housing, transportation, construction, 
and supply. This information was issued in 
what were known as Tentative Overall 
Plans which were kept up to date by re- 
peated revision. To implement the 
Trident decisions in the United States, 
the Bolero Combined Committee in 
Washington was now reconstituted as the 
Bolero-Sickle Combined Committee, 
the word Sickle applying to the air force 
build-up, which was now planned inde- 
pendently of the ground and service com- 
ponents. As before, the Combined Com- 
mittee of Washington was set up as a 
subcommittee of the Combined Staff Plan- 
ners (of the CCS) with the mission of co- 
ordinating the preparation and imple- 
mentation of the Bolero-Sickle shipping 
program. 35 Although the London Com- 
mittee had never been formally disbanded, 
it had not met since February after the 
abortive revival of Bolero. On 20 July it 
once more met under the chairmanship of 
Sir Findlater Stewart. Headquarters, 
ETOUSA, had made some new appoint- 
ments to the committee and the entire 
group assembled at this time primarily to 
introduce the new members. Direct con- 
tacts had long since been established be- 
tween appropriate American and British 
services and departments, and there was 
no longer any pressing need for regular 

meetings of the entire committee. The July 
meeting consequently proved to be the 
only formal session under the new pro- 
gram, although small ad hoc meetings and 
informal conferences were called from 
time to time, and the various specialized 
subcommittees continued to meet to solve 
particular problems. 36 

British and American officials in the 
United Kingdom had already taken cog- 
nizance of the reception and accommoda- 
tion problem posed by the new program, 
and had recognized the necessity for 
bringing older plans up to date. But it had 
been impossible to publish a new Bolero 
Key Plan earlier because of the tentative 
status of the troop basis. 37 Early in July 
Headquarters, ETO, submitted to the 
War Office new build-up figures and data 
to be considered in the distribution of U.S. 
forces in the United Kingdom. These 
planning figures approximated the Tri- 
dent shipping schedule, indicating a 
build-up of 1,340,000 men by 1 May 
1944. The War Office was asked to use 
this total to plan the maximum accom- 
modations. 38 On the basis of this figure 
the Bolero Key Plan underwent its last 
major revision, the Fourth Edition being 
issued by the Deputy Quartermaster 
General on 12 July 1943. The British 
Southern Command had already antici- 
pated the changes and had issued its own 

34 Cbl R-8870, AGWAR to ETO, 26 May 43. 

35 Note by Secy, Principal Adm Officers Com of 
War Cabinet, 18 Jun 43, sub: Bolero-Sickle Com- 
bined Com, ETO Bolero File 1943. 

36 Memo for CofS, 8 Jul 43, sub: Info on Bolero 
Corns, ETO Bolero File 1943; BCC(L) Min, 2d 
Mtg, 20 Jul 43, ETO Preinvasion 322. 

37 Ltr, Hq ETO to CG SOS, 12 May 43, sub: 
Distribution of U.S. Ground Force, SOS AG 320.2 
SOS Jun 42-Jul 43. 

3S Ltr, Hq ETO to Under-Secy of State for War, 
7 Jul 43, ETO 381 Troop Basis 1943. 



plan for the U.S. Southern Base Section 
area two weeks earlier. 39 

During the summer of 1943 the 
ETOUSA, SOS, and Eighth Air Force 
staffs devoted a large portion of their 
time to the all-important problem of ob- 
taining a definitive troop basis for the 
ETO. No single other problem was the 
subject of so many communications be- 
tween the various headquarters and 
between ETOUSA and the War Depart- 
ment. Solving it was perhaps the most 
important initial task after the strategic 
decisions of the Combined Chiefs which 
assigned the theater its mission. Not only 
was it essential that the War Department 
determine the total allotment of troops to 
the theater. It was necessary to come to an 
agreement with the theater over the 
apportionment of this over-all allotment 
between the air, ground, and service 
forces to create a balanced force, and 
decide on the specific numbers of each of 
the hundreds of different types of units. In 
one of the first staff conferences held by 
the SOS to discuss the implications of the 
Trident decisions it was pointed out that 
the over-all troop basis — air, ground, and 
service — together with the priorities for 
shipment, was a basic factor in the prep- 
aration of an accommodation, mainte- 
nance, supply, and construction plan, and 
therefore a necessary prerequisite to the 
revision of the Bolero Key Plan. 40 

Had the ETOUSA planners awaited 
the approval of a firm troop basis, how- 
ever, little progress would have been made 
in preparing for the build-up in 1943, for 
the troop basis continued to be a subject of 
negotiation with the War Department for 
several months to come. Fortunately, 
ETOUSA and SOS planners had begun 
calculating the theater's requirements 

before the Trident Conference, and on 
1 May General Andrews had submitted to 
the War Department a list of the units, 
totaling 887,935 men, which he desired 
shipped to the theater by 3 1 December. It 
was admittedly only a partial list, but pro- 
vided sufficient data to the War Depart- 
ment for the employment of shipping for 
the remainder of the year. A complete 
troop basis was hardly possible at the 
time, since an operational plan had not 
yet taken shape to determine the precise 
troop needs. 41 ETOUSA later submitted 
new priority lists, and by the end of the 
month shipments were beginning to be 
made on the basis of the interim 888,000- 
man troop list and the theater's latest 
priority requests. 42 

Submitting the partial troop list was 
one of General Andrews' last acts as com- 
manding general of the European Thea- 
ter, On 3 May, barely three months after 
assuming command, he was killed in an 
airplane crash while on a tour of inspec- 
tion in Iceland. General Andrews was an 
air force officer, and his loss was therefore 
particularly regrettable in view of the 
plans then being formulated for an inten- 
sified aerial offensive. Lt. Gen. Jacob L. 
Devers, commander of the Armored Force 
at Fort Knox, was appointed his successor 
and arrived in England on 9 May 1943. 43 
To him now fell the task of bringing to 

39 Joint Bolero Key Plan (Southern Command), 
30 Jun 43, ETO Bolero Second Key Plan. 

40 Min, SOS Stf Confs, 1 Jun 43, ETO 337 Gonfs 
1943, I. 

41 Ltr, Andrews to OPD, 1 May 43, sub: Troop 
Basis and SOS Priorities, ETO 381 Troop Basis 1943. 

42 Min, 20th Mtg, Bolero Combined Planners 
(Washington), 4 Jun 43, Annex A, Background on 
Bolero-Sickle Buildup, 3 Jun 43, ASF Planning 
Div, Series II, A46-183. 

43 During the interim period of six days the theater 
was commanded by Maj. Gen. William S. Key, the 
Provost Marshal, as the senior officer in the theater. 



fruition the long-drawn-out and detailed 
work on a definitive troop basis. 

For the first time it was possible to 
develop the troop basis with somewhat 
more specific missions in mind. The air 
force troop basis was now formulated on 
the basis of the Combined Bomber Offen- 
sive, which was in the process of accept- 
ance by the Combined Chiefs of Staff 
early in May. The ground force troop 
basis, while based on a still nebulous plan 
for a cross-Channel operation, was never- 
theless firmly related to the plans which 
were now being formulated by the new 
Allied planning staff established in April 
in accordance with the decision made at 
Casablanca in January. Under the leader- 
ship of Lt. Gen. Frederick E. Morgan 
(British), who had been named Chief of 
Staff to the Supreme Allied Commander 
(designate), or COSSAC, this group had 
taken the place of the old Roundup plan- 
ning staff and was already putting into 
shape an outline design for continental 

The first of the troop bases to be devel- 
oped in detail and submitted to the War 
Department was that of the air force. For 
this purpose General Arnold sent a special 
mission to the United Kingdom, headed 
by Maj. Gen. Follett Bradley, Air Inspec- 
tor of the Army Air Forces, to study the 
personnel needs and organization of the 
Eighth Air Force and to prepare a troop 
basis adequate to the contemplated mis- 
sion of the air force in the United 
Kingdom. General Bradley arrived in 
England on 5 May, at the very time that 
the command of the theater was changing 
hands. After three weeks of studies and 
conferences he submitted his plan to the 
War Department at the end of May, call- 
ing for an allocation of 485,843 men, 
including 113 groups, to be built up by 

June 1944. The proposal was approved by 
General Eaker, who had assisted in its 
preparation, and by General Devers, 
although with certain reservations. On the 
assumption that the VIII Bomber Com- 
mand was to be built up at maximum 
speed and to its maximum strength for its 
new mission, the plan had been developed 
with little relationship to the theater's 
other requirements. General Devers 
thought the air force troop basis was too 
large compared with those of the ground 
and service forces then under study in his 
headquarters, and he also opposed the 
speed of the build-up which the Bradley 
plan called for. He believed that the pro- 
posed build-up could be carried out only 
at the expense of SOS and ground troops, 
since there was not enough shipping to go 
around. He warned that the air could not 
operate without SOS support, and that 
the brunt of any reduction in movement 
schedules would therefore have to be 
borne by the ground forces. 44 

The War Department approved the 
Bradley plan as a basis for planning, but 
with important exceptions. In particular, 
it opposed certain organizational features 
of the plan and insisted on reductions in 
headquarters and service personnel, for 
which the plan had made a generous 
allocation of 190,000 men in a total of less 
than 500,000. Despite protests from the 
Eighth Air Force, a sizable reduction was 
eventually made in its troop basis. At the 
direction of the War Department a second 
group of officers went to England in 
October to make a new study of air force 
needs, and pared the allocation to 
466,600. After a further review by the 
War Department, and the decision to 

44 Ltr, Bradley to CG AAF, 28 May 43, sub: 
Organization of Eighth Air Force, with Inds, OPD 
320.2 Security, Sec II. 



divert certain groups to the Mediterra- 
nean , the troop basis of the Eighth Air 
Force was finally established at 415,000, 
with a build-up of ninety-eight and a half 
groups to be achieved by June 1944. 45 

Meanwhile Headquarters, ETOUSA, 
and the SOS completed their studies of 
ground and service force needs, and the 
troop bases for these two components were 
submitted to the War Department in the 
month of July. On the 5th General Devers 
requested approval of a ground force 
troop basis of 635,552 (to include eighteen 
divisions), and on the 18th he submitted 
the SOS troop basis calling for 375,000 
men. In both cases these figures repre- 
sented only the "first phase" require- 
ments — that is, the forces required to 
launch an operation on 1 May 1944 aimed 
at securing a lodgment on the Continent. 
General Devers carefully pointed out that 
additional units in all categories would 
have to augment this force in order to sup- 
port continuing large-scale operations. 46 
Troop bases for the "second phase" were 
then being studied and were to be sub- 
mitted within a few weeks. 

As in the case of the Bradley plan, both 
ground and service force troop bases for 
the first phase came under careful scrutiny 
in the War Department. For the most part 
the ground force allocation was not seri- 
ously challenged, although questions were 
raised regarding the ratio of various types 
of troops. 47 Most of the criticism was 
reserved for the SOS troop basis, just as 
the service troop allocations in the air 
force plan had also been subjected to the 
heaviest criticism. It was generally con- 
ceded that the supply and maintenance 
situation in the ETO before the actual 
start of operations was considerably dif- 
ferent from that in a normal overseas 
theater. The construction program for 

camps, airdromes, and other installations, 
the receipt, storage, and issue of pre- 
shipped supplies and equipment, and 
other factors all tended to create a unique 
logistical problem. At the same time, the 
War Department staff noted, from the 
standpoint of economy it was not desirable 
to ship units merely to meet this abnormal 
situation if such units would not be needed 
when the peak load had passed at approx- 
imately D Day. As the SOS troop basis 
made its way through the War Depart- 
ment staff sections it was generally agreed 
that savings could be made. The G-3 
specifically listed certain guard units, 
military police, and Ordnance and Trans- 
portation Corps units for elimination; and 
he cast a suspicious eye on certain other 
special units, the need for which was not 
considered to be critical, or whose func- 
tions could be performed by other units. 

45 Ltr, Eaker to GG ETO, 15 Oct 43, sub: Imple- 
mentation of Bradley Plan (Revised), OPD 320.2 
Security, Sec II; Note for record, 3 Nov 43, sub: 
Troop Basis Air Forces ETO, OPD 320.2 ETO, Sec 
IX- A. See also Graven and Gate, The Army Air Forces, 
II, 635-38. 

46 Ltr, Devers to CofS WD, 5 Jul 43, sub: Ground 
Force Troop Basis ETO, ETO 381 Troop Basis 1943; 
Ltr, Devers to CofS WD, 18 Jul 43, sub: SOS Troop 
Basis ETO, OPD 320.2 ETO, Sec V. 

47 The chief of staff of the Army Ground Forces 
noted, for example, that only 49 percent of the ground 
force troops in the ETOUSA troop basis were com- 
bat troops, while in the North African theater the 
percentage was 59. The War Department G-3 took 
exception to the ratio of allotments to the various sup- 
porting arms. He estimated that the allocation of 
antiaircraft troops should be 19 percent of the total 
number in the nondivisional supporting arms, while 
the ETOUSA planners had allowed an allocation of 
33.9 percent. At the same time the ETOUSA troop 
basis revealed a smaller allowance of field artillery 
than was considered adequate by the War Depart- 
ment. The G-3 recommended a more "normal" ratio 
of combat support than was indicated in the ETO 
basis. Memo, Brig Gen James G. Christiansen, CofS 
AGF, for CofS WD, 28 Aug 43, sub: Troop Basis 
ETO : and Memo, Brig Gen Ray E. Porter, G-3 WD, 
for ACof S OPD, 1 1 Aug 43, sub: U.K. Troop Basis, 
OPD 320.2 Security, Sec III. 



Among these were forestry companies, gas 
generating units, fire fighting platoons, 
utility detachments, model maker detach- 
ments, bomb disposal companies, petro- 
leum testing laboratories, museum and 
medical arts service detachments, radio 
broadcasting companies, and harbor craft 
service companies. 48 The G-3 was em- 
phatic in his assertion that nonessential 
units should not be approved for the ETO 
or any other theater. It was imperative, he 
noted, that combat and service units be 
required to perform, in addition to their 
normal duties, certain services for which 
they were not primarily organized or 
trained, for example, fire fighting. The 
current manpower shortage made it 
extravagant in his opinion to provide serv- 
ice troops enough to meet peak loads 
which might occur only infrequently. The 
eight-hour day and the "book figures" for 
normal capabilities of service units simply 
had to be abandoned. 49 

The analysis of the ETOUSA troop 
basis was by the War Department's own 
admission a highly theoretical matter, for 
Washington lacked detailed knowledge of 
operational plans and exact information 
on the type of operations to be under- 
taken. The War Department's study was 
largely a statistical analysis, based on a 
comparison of the ETO's requests with the 
allotment of various types of units in the 
over-all War Department troop basis, and 
on a comparison with a hypothetical 
thirty- division plan worked out in the War 
Department, supposedly with a cross- 
Channel operation in mind. There was 
great variance between the calculations 
made in the theater and in Washington, 
and the War Department was at a loss to 
make very many specific demands for 
reductions. On 25 August it returned the 

troop basis to the theater with the charac- 
teristic "approved for planning purposes," 
but with the injunction to effect economies 
in the use of service troops. Most of its 
recommendations were of a general nature. 
The theater was instructed to reduce to a 
minimum the number of fixed logistical 
installations in the United Kingdom with 
the idea that certain of these installations 
would eventually be required on the 
Continent. As a temporary reinforcement 
of the SOS it was asked to utilize to the 
maximum the service units whose regular 
assignment was with the ground forces, 
and, if necessary, even to employ combat 
units where training would not suffer too 
seriously. Before making more specific 
recommendations the War Department 
preferred to await the development of a 
more detailed operational plan and also 
asked to see the theater's administrative 
plan. 50 

The return of the troop basis to the 
theater was followed in a few days by let- 
ters from both Brig. Gen. John E. Hull, 
the acting chief of OPD, and General 
Handy, the Deputy Chief of Staff, re-em- 
phasizing the serious manpower situation 
in the United States. The shortage of men 
was placing a definite limitation on the 
size of the Army, with the result that the 
War Department had been charged with 
sifting all theater troop demands. It there- 
fore requested additional information on 
which to base its consideration of 
ETOUSA's troop needs, and again asked 

48 Memo, WD G-4 for G-l and OPD, 5 Aug 43, 
sub: U.K. Troop Basis, and Memo, Gen Porter for 
AGofS OPD, 11 Aug 43. 

49 Memo, Gen Porter for OPD, 16 Oct 43, sub: 
Restudy and Restatement of Troop Basis for 1st 
Phase : OPD 320.2 Security, Sec III. 

50 Ltr, Secy War to GG ETO, 25 Aug 43, sub: 
Troop Basis, Ground and Svcs of Supply, ETO, 
ETO 320.2 Strength and Troop Basis, I. 



the theater specifically to submit an out- 
line administrative plan for the cross- 
Channel operation. 51 

To these comments and injunctions 
ETOUSA could only reply that it had 
already taken into consideration precisely 
those economy measures which the War 
Department had listed. Every effort had 
been made to keep to a minimum the 
number of fixed installations. The War 
Department, it noted, was apparently 
unaware of conditions in the United King- 
dom, for the logistical setup there was far 
from optimum. The British had long since 
dispersed most installations because of the 
threat of air attack. These had been 
accepted for use by the Americans largely 
because the shortage of both labor and 
construction materials precluded extensive 
building of new and larger depots. The 
rail distribution system and the limited 
capacity of the highways also favored 
more numerous, smaller, and dispersed 
installations, all of which tended to in- 
crease the need for service units. ETOUSA 
further assured the War Department that 
it had already counted on the use of serv- 
ice units of the ground forces wherever 
possible in formulating the SOS troop 
basis. ETOUSA admitted certain minor 
changes in its troop lists, but for the most 
part justified its requests. The submission 
of an administrative plan it regarded as 
impractical at that time. 52 

The problem of striking an adequate 
and at the same time economical balance 
between service and combat troops was a 
perennial one. Since the War Depart- 
ment's 1942 troop basis had not provided 
adequate service troop units, it had been 
necessary to carry out piecemeal activa- 
tions in order to meet the requirements for 
overseas operations. In 1943 the number 

of available troop units continued to fall 
short of the demands of the overseas com- 
manders. The desire to place the largest 
possible number of combat units, both air 
and ground, in the field inevitably resulted 
in subjecting the service troop demands to 
the closest scrutiny. Increasingly conscious 
of the limited manpower resources, the 
War Department General Staff in Novem- 
ber 1942 not only reduced the total num- 
ber of divisions in the over-all troop basis, 
with corresponding cuts in the service 
units organic to the combat elements, but 
also took steps to reduce the over-all ratio 
of service to combat elements. There was 
no formula for economy which could fit 
all the varied circumstances of a global 
war, and it was difficult at best to prove 
that logistical support would be jeop- 
ardized by eliminating one or two depot 
companies or port battalions. In general 
the view persisted in the War Department 
that the ratio of service to combat troops 
was excessive, and it had become normal 
to regard the demands of the service forces 
with a certain suspicion, at times with 
some justification. 53 Pressed by the man- 
power situation in the United States the 
War Department apparently felt doubly 
obliged to question the theater's demands. 

It should be noted that the original SOS 
troop demands had already suffered a 
very sizable cut. The chiefs of services had 
originally submitted to the theater com- 

51 Memo, Hull for CG ETO, 7 Sep 43, sub: 
Theater Troop Basis, ETO 320.2 Strength and Troop 
Basis, I; Memo, Handy for CG ETO, 1 1 Sep 43, sub: 
Ping Info Requested by Cbl, P&O 381 1943-45. See 
Kent Roberts Greenfield, Robert R. Palmer, and Bell 
I. Wiley, The Organization of Ground Combat Troops, 
(Washington, 1947), on the U.S. manpower problem. 

52 1st Ind to WD Ltrof 25 Aug, Hq ETO to WD, 
25 Sep 43, OPD 320.2 Security, Sec III. 

53 Problem of Troop and Cargo Flow, pp. 55-58. 



mander a list of requirements totaling 
490,000 men, each chief maintaining that 
he had asked for only the minimum num- 
ber considered essential to do an efficient 
job. General Devers had taken issue with 
these demands, and had given a command 
decision limiting the total service troop 
basis to 375,000 and assigning the various 
services specific percentages of this total. 
The service chiefs consequently had little 
choice but to recalculate their needs and 
bring them within the prescribed allot- 
ments. Reductions were naturally made 
where they involved the least risk. The 
number of hospital beds was reduced by 
refiguring casualty estimates. Require- 
ments for port battalions were refigured 
on the assumption that greater use could 
be made of civilian labor on the Continent, 
and for railway units on the assumption 
that railways would not be restored as 
rapidly as previously planned. In this way 
1 15,000 bodies were lopped off the orig- 
inal "minimum" estimates. The 375,000- 
man troop basis which General Devers 
eventually submitted to the War Depart- 
ment in July was based on an allocation of 
25 percent of the over-all theater troop 
basis to the SOS. 54 This was certainly not 
exorbitant considering World War I expe- 
rience and the enlarged services which the 
SOS was expected to perform. Whether a 
force thus limited by fiat would prove 
adequate to support the ground and air 
elements remained to be seen. At any rate, 
the theater stood firm on its July troop 
basis for the SOS, and it was eventually 
accepted by the War Department without 
important changes. While the various 
component troop bases underwent minor 
alterations from time to time, by Novem- 
ber the ETOUSA first-phase troop basis 
for 1 May 1944 had reached relative 
stability with the following composition: 55 

Type Number 

Total 1,418,000 

Services of Supply 375, 000 

Ground Forces 626, 000 

Air Forces 417,000 

In the meantime work had also pro- 
gressed on the troop basis for the second 
phase, the terminal date for which at first 
was designated as June 1945 and later 
moved forward to 1 February 1945. On 
5 August General Devers submitted 
the ground force requirements, totaling 
1,436,444, 56 and on 26 September the the- 
ater notified the War Department that its 
second phase service troop needs would 
total 730,247 men. 57 Added to the air 
force total, which did not change since it 
was to achieve its maximum build-up by 
1 May 1944, the troop basis for the second 
phase thus totaled approximately 2,583,- 
000. The second phase figures represented 
the cumulative build-up to 1 February 
1945 and therefore included the first phase 
totals. They represented the estimated 
needs for extended operations on the Con- 
tinent after seizure of a lodgment area, 
and were prepared at this time primarily 
to serve as a guide to the War Department 
in its activation and training program. As 
before, the War Department made a care- 
ful examination of ETOUSA 's stated 

54 Telephone Conversation, Col Royal B. Lord 
with Gen Weaver, 10 Jul 43, SOS AG 320.2 SOS 
May 43-Jan 44; Memo, Lt Col George W. Beeler, 
Chief of Svcs ETO, for Col E. M.Jones, G-5 ETO, 
12 Jul 43, sub: SOS Troop List— 375,000-man Basis, 
SOS AG 381 Troop Basis and Strength 1943. 

55 Memo, Lt Col L. B. Meacham, SOS, for Col 
Beeler, 25 Nov 43, ETO 320.2 Strength and Troop 
Basis, I. 

r,,i Ltr, Devers to CofS WD, 5 Aug 43, sub: Field 
Forces Troop Basis, 1st and 2d Phase, ETO 381 
Troop Basis 1943. 

57 Ltr, Maj Gen Idwal H. Edwards, CofS ETO, 
to WD AG, 26 Sep 43, sub: Second Phase Troop Basis, 
OPD 320.2 Security, Sec III. 


Table 3 — Troop Build-up in the United Kingdom in 1943 


End of month strength 


from Jan 42 



Air Force* 



and Mtu> 



h l22,097 





2 56,596 













April - - . * * 

♦ - * * 








May * • * « - 

i . . * 

19,2 20 







June ■ ♦ ■ ■ • 



























l6S t 999 
























* By ship. Excludes movements by air. 

b Includes 1 3,608 men assigned to Allied Force for this month only, 

A large portion of these arrivals consisted of units redeployed from North Africa. 

Source: Troop arrivals data obtained from ETO TC Monthly Progress Rpt, 30 Jun 44, ETO Adm 451 TC Rpts. Troop 
strength data obtained from Progress Rpt, Progress Div, SOS, 4 Oct 43, ETO Adm 345 Troops, and Progress Rpts, 
Statistical Sec, SGS, Hq ETO, ETO Adm 42 1-29. These ETO strength data were preliminary, unaudited figures for 
command purposes and, while differing slightly from the audited WD AG strengths, have been used throughout this 
volume because of the subdivision into air, ground, and service troops. This breakdown is unavailable in WD AG reports. 

needs. Once more it gave its tentative ap- 
proval, but again pointed out the man- 
power ceiling under which the War De- 
partment was working, noting that the 
ETO's troop basis would have to be com- 
pared with those of other theaters and 
weighed against over- all manpower avail- 
ability. It returned the troop basis with 
recommended alterations and requested 
that ETOUSA make certain reductions, 
particularly in service units. 58 In Novem- 
ber, after restudying the theater's needs, 
General Devers made his counterrecom- 
mendation, restoring some of the cuts, but 
accepting a reduction of more than 1 25,- 
000 service troops. At the end of Novem- 
ber the theater's over-all troop basis, first 
and second phases combined, calling for 

a build-up of forty-seven divisions as of 1 
February 1945, stood as follows: 59 

Type Number 
Total 2,377,000 

Services of Supply , 604, 000 

Ground Forces 1, 356, 000 

Air Forces 417,000 

The actual initiation of troop move- 
ments did not depend on the final ap- 
proval of the various troop bases, and the 
Bolero build-up had started on the basis 
of flow charts and priority lists worked out 

58 Memo, Handy for GG ETO, 21 Oct 43, sub: 
U.K. Troop Basis, 1st and 2d Phase, ETO 320.2 
Strength and Troop Basis, I. 

59 Memo, Meacham for Beeler, 25 Nov 43. 



earlier in the year. The ETOUSA air 
force had made a negligible recovery in 
the early months of 1943 despite the high 
priority accorded it at the Casablanca 
Conference. In April it was able to operate 
only six heavy bomber groups with a daily 
average strength of only 153 planes. 60 
Upon the approval of the Combined 
Bomber Offensive plan the build-up of the 
Eighth Air Force assumed a new urgency 
and the means were now finally found to 
carry out the movement of both personnel 
and cargo roughly as planned. The re- 
sumption of the Bolero build-up first be- 
came evident in the month of May, when 
nearly the entire shipment to the United 
Kingdom (20,000 men) consisted of air 
units. The air build-up in fact continued 
to be favored for most of the summer, and 
from May through August accounted for 
approximately 100,000 or three fifths of 
the 165,0 00 men sh ipped to the United 
Kingdom. \( Table 3 j| By the end of the year 
the air force had achieved a remarkable 
growth from 16 groups, 1,420 planes, and 
74,000 men in May to 46 groups, 4,618 
planes, and 286,264 men. 61 The move- 
ment of air combat units actually pro- 
ceeded ahead of the estimated shipping 
schedules set up at Trident. 

The SOS and ground force build-up 
also achieved an encouraging record, but 
only after a serious lag in the early months. 
Ground force strength in the United 
Kingdom remained almost unchanged 
from January through May, with fewer 
than 20,000 men (comprising only one 
division, the 29th), and made only negli- 
gible gains in June and July. By December 
it was built up to 265,325 men. This was 
far short of the build-up which the theater 
commander had originally requested in 
May (390,000 by 31 December), but the 
shortage was not serious in view of the fact 

that large-scale ground combat operations 
were not contemplated until the following 

The progress of the service troop build- 
up gave far more cause for concern, par- 
ticularly in the early months. The SOS 
force in the United Kingdom, like the 
ground forces, had remained almost sta- 
tionary, with a strength of about 34,000 
throughout the first five months of 1943. 
In June the theater repeated a request 
which had been heard many times be- 
fore — to speed up the arrival of service 
troops in order to take advantage of the 
long summer days and good weather to 
advance the construction of the needed 
facilities in the United Kingdom. There 
now were additional reasons for a more 
rapid build-up, for the decision to reinsti- 
tute the preshipping procedure resulted in 
heavy advance shipments of cargo, and it 
appeared that there would be insufficient 
British labor to handle more than about 
seventy-five ships per month. The theater 
was already employing Medical Corps, 
ground combat, and air force troops 
alongside British civilian labor in depots 
and ports, and the shortage of labor was 
already adversely affecting certain British 
services to the U.S. forces, such as vehicle 
assembly, tire retreading, and coal deliv- 
ery to North Africa. At one time during 
the summer the theater commander con- 
sidered using the entire 29th Division as 
labor. 62 

From June through August the theater 
received fewer than 46,000 service troops. 
The lag resulted in part from diversion of 
shipments to another area, in part from 
the unavailability of the desired types of 

60 Craven and Gate, The Army Air Forces, II, 3 1 1. 
(il Progress Rpt Progress Div, SOS, 4 Oct 43; 
Craven and Gate, The Army Air Forces } II, 639. 
62 Problem of Troop and Cargo Flow, pp. 69-71. 



units. Despite the earlier restrictions which 
the Combined Chiefs of Staff had placed 
on any further diversion of resources to the 
Mediterranean, the Sicilian operation had 
met with such brilliant success, and pros- 
pects for an Italian collapse were so favor- 
able that the decision was made in July to 
invade Italy. Once more, therefore, oper- 
ations in the Mediterranean area asserted 
a prior and more urgent claim to available 
resources. In response to requests from 
General Eisenhower approximately 66,000 
troops were diverted to the North African 
theater, and only 37,000 troops (mostly 
air units) out of a projected 103,000 could 
be shipped to the United Kingdom in 
August. 63 Theater officials expected that 
the net loss would be even greater, and 
would have a cumulative effect on the 
total Bolero program, since the postpone- 
ment of the SOS build-up would neces- 
sarily delay the ETO's readiness to accept 
ground and air force units. 64 

General Lee and the Combined Com- 
mittee of London learned of the prospec- 
tive diversions early in July. 65 The SOS 
commander immediately protested, warn- 
ing the War Department that any further 
postponement or curtailment of the SOS 
troop arrivals would jeopardize the cross- 
Channel operation itself, for the theater 
was losing unrecoverable time through its 
inability to undertake the necessary prep- 
arations for the later ground force arriv- 
als. 66 The inability of the War Department 
to ship service units of the required types 
was essentially the fruit of its earlier 
neglect of the SOS troop basis. Although 
the activation of service units had been 
greatly expedited since the fall of 1942, it 
had been a struggle to obtain from the 
General Staff the men needed to fill out 
the units authorized in the 1943 troop 
basis, and the SOS units had had to be 

activated earlier than had been antici- 
pated to meet ETOUSA's requirements. 67 
So urgent did the need become in the 
summer of 1943 that the War Department 
finally resorted to the expedient of divert- 
ing partially trained ground and air per- 
sonnel to the Army Service Forces (for- 
merly the War Department SOS, renamed 
in March) for training as service troops. 68 
Shortages in the United Kingdom were 
particularly acute in the category of engi- 
neer construction units needed to com- 
plete the program for airdromes, hut- 
ments, storage, hospitals, shops, and 
assault-training facilities. General Lee 
noted that standards had already been 
lowered from those recommended by the 
chief surgeon for shelter and hospital beds, 
and airdrome standards were also below 
those of the RAF. 69 The SOS commander 
had asked for twenty-nine engineer gen- 
eral service regiments by 30 September. 
Late in July the War Department in* 
formed him that only nineteen could be 
shipped unless certain unit training was 
waived. The theater, as in 1942, was will- 
ing enough to train units in the United 
Kingdom, and therefore accepted the par- 
tially trained troops. 70 Much the same 

63 Ibid., p. 73. 

64 Memo, Ross for Lee, 16 Jul 43, sub: August 
Troop Lift, SOS AG 320.2 SOS May 43-Jan 44. 

65 Ltr, Lutes to Lee, 9 Jul 43, ETO 381 Opns Data, 
Basic Ping Dir 1, Transportation; Gbl Black 7, 
BSGG(W) to BGC(L), 15 Jul 43, ASF Ping Div, 
Bolero-Sickle Com, Series II, A46-183, Item 22. 

66 Memo, Lee for Secy War, 22 Jul 43, sub: 
Bolero-Sickle Build-up, SOS AG 381 Bolero Com- 
bined Com. 

67 Ltr, Lutes to Lee, 12 Jun 43, SOS 381 Troop 
Basis and Strength 1943; Ltr, Lutes to Lee, 9 Jul 43, 
ETO 381 Opns Data, Basic Ping Dir 1— Trans- 

68 Problem of Troop and Cargo Flow, p. 72. 

69 Memo, Lee for Secy War, 22 Jul 43, s >: 
Bolero-Sickle Build-up. 

70 Note for record, OPD, 30 Jul 43, OPD 32c 2 
ETO, Sec VI. 



situation obtained with regard to air force 
service troops, and as a result the build-up 
of combat units took place at the expense 
of service troops, creating a serious lack of 
balance in the summer of 1943. In Octo- 
ber the Air Forces began shipping thou- 
sands of casuals to the United Kingdom, 
where the Eighth Air Force planned to 
give them on-the-job training and organ- 
ize them into various types of service 
units. 71 

Beginning in September the shipment 
of service units improved appreciably. In 
the last four months of the year the SOS 
almost tripled its strengthen the United 
Kingdom, rising from 79,900 to 220,200. 
The Combined Chiefs meanwhile had 
raised the sights for the U.K. build-up. In 
August the Allied leaders met in the 
Quadrant Conference at Quebec for a 
full-dress debate on strategy for 1944. By 
that time the tide of war had definitely 
turned in favor of the Allies. Italy was at 
the very brink of collapse; the German 
armies had already been ejected from the 
Caucasus and the Don Basin, and were 
now being forced to give up the last of their 
conquests east of the Dnieper. For the 
most part the Quebec meeting resulted in 
a reindorsement of the Trident decisions 
so far as operations in the European area 
were concerned. It again gave the air of- 
fensive from the United Kingdom the 
highest strategic priority, approved the 
first product of the COSSAC planners — 
the Overlord plan for cross-Channel at- 
tack in May 1944 — and directed that 
preparations should go forward for such 
an operation. As a result of the diminish- 
ing scale of shipping losses it was also pos- 
sible to raise the target for the Bolero 
build-up. Troop movement capabilities 
were now increased from the previous 
Trident figure of 1,300,300 to 1,416,900 
by 1 May 1944. 72 

Troop shipments in the remaining four 
months of the year did not quite achieve 
the Quadrant estimates, although the 
theater received record shipments of air, 
ground, and service troops from Septem- 
ber through December. In October the 
arrivals topped 100,000 for the first time, 
and in November rose to 174,000. At the 
end of the year ETOUSA had a total 
strength of 773,753 men (as against a 
cumulative build-up of 814,300 projected 
at Quebec), which represented slightly 
more than half of the authorized first 
phase troop basis. General Devers was 
acutely aware of the limited port and rail 
capacity in the United Kingdom, and had 
hoped for a heavier flow. 73 It was obvious 
at the end of the year, however, that there 
would have to be heavy shipments in the 
first months of 1944. 

(3) The Flow of Cargo in 1943 

The flow of supplies and equipment to 
the United Kingdom under the revived 
Bolero program got under way some- 
what in advance of the personnel build- 
up, largely because of the more favorable 
cargo shipping situation. As a result of the 
gradual elimination of the submarine 
menace and the record-breaking produc- 
tion of shipping, the total tonnage lost 
from all sources by the Allies and neutrals 
since September 1939 was more than re- 
placed during 1943. In that year the ton- 
nage constructed was four times the total 
lost in the same period. 74 

Cargo shipping had been allocated on 
the basis of a build-up of 80,000 men in 

71 Graven and Gate, The Army Air Forces, II, 640; 
Gbl, Handy to GG ETO, 27 Sep 43, and Note for 
record, 27 Sep 43, OPD 320.2 ETO, Sec VII. 

72 CCS 329/2, 26 Aug 43. ■ 

73 Gbl W-2154, Devers to Marshall, 20 Jul 43, SOS 
AG 320.2 SOS May 43-Jan 44. 

74 U.S. Fleet Anti-submarine Bulletin, I (Feb 44), 8. 



the first three months, and 169,000 in the 
second quarter. The subsequent cancella- 
tion of troop movements to the United 
Kingdom freed approximately 150,000 
ship tons per month from hauling the 
equipment of these units, and left the 
Army Service Forces (ASF) with the prob- 
lem of finding cargo for the space. 

To both ETOUSA and the ASF this 
situation was ready made for the reinstitu- 
tion of the preshipping procedure which 
had been attempted on a limited scale in 
1942. ETOUSA in particular wanted 
equipment to arrive in advance of troops 
so that it could be issued to them on their 
arrival and loss of training time could 
thereby be avoided. Preshipment would 
also preclude telescoping heavy shipments 
in the months immediately preceding the 
invasion, when British port capacity was 
expected to be a decisive limiting factor. 

In February and March General An- 
drews repeatedly urged the War Depart- 
ment to adopt this procedure. Early in 
April he came forward with a detailed 
proposal requesting that shipments arrive 
thirty to forty-five days in advance of 
troops, or, as a less desirable alternative, 
that organizational equipment be shipped 
force-marked and arrive at least simul- 
taneously with the arrival of troops. The 
War Department General Staff gave the 
request a cool reception. Recalling the 
unhappy experience with preshipped sup- 
plies in the summer of 1942, when much 
equipment had been temporarily lost in 
the U.K. depots, the General Staff feared 
that this situation might be repeated. The- 
ater officials were fully aware of the dan- 
ger, and it was for precisely this reason 
that they were at the same time urging the 
early shipment of service troops. There 
was also a question as to whether equip- 
ment should be shipped in bulk or in sets 
for "type" or specific units. Because of the 

habit of shipping equipment force- 
marked, precedent indicated the latter 
method. But the instability of the troop 
basis in the spring of 1943, and the impos- 
sibility at that time of accurately forecast- 
ing troop arrivals, reduced to guesswork 
the planning of advance shipment for spe- 
cific units. Bulk shipment, on the other 
hand, would allow the build-up of depot 
stocks in the United Kingdom with less 
regard for lists of specific troop units and 
could thus proceed with relative disregard 
for changes in the troop basis. 75 

At the urging of both ETOUSA and the 
ASF, the General Staff gave a cautious ap- 
proval to the preshipment concept on 16 
April. As authorized at that time, the plan 
provided for the shipment of organiza- 
tional equipment, force-marked, thirty 
days in advance of the sailing of units. In 
effect, this was not preshipment at all as 
envisaged and proposed by the theater, for 
it meant that equipment would arrive, at 
best, at approximately the same time as 
the units. Moreover, it adhered to the old 
force-marking practice by which sets of 
equipment were earmarked for specific 
units and therefore did not embody the 
idea of shipments in bulk. Advance ship- 
ment was applied only to a selected list of 
items — combat maintenance, boxed gen- 
eral purpose vehicles, and Glass IV sup- 
plies (items such as construction and 
fortification materials, for which allow- 
ances are not prescribed) — in which pro- 
duction at this time exceeded current 
requirements. Established priorities then 
in force also limited the application of the 
program, since North African operations, 
training requirements in the United 
States, the bomber offensive in the United 
Kingdom, and two major operations in 

75 Except as otherwise noted, the discussion of ship- 
ping procedures is based on the monograph, Problem 
of Troop and Cargo Flow, Chs. I and II. 



the Pacific all had more urgent call on 
supplies. Applying the force-marking 
principle even made it difficult to compute 
requirements because of the unstable 
troop basis. In general, then, preshipment 
was accorded hardly more than lip service 
at this stage, reflecting both the War De- 
partment's reluctance to go further and 
the theater's continued low priority 

Unsatisfied with this half-hearted ac- 
ceptance of the preshipment idea, the 
ASF immediately exerted efforts to obtain 
a fuller implementation of the concept. 
On 16 May it succeeded in getting OPD's 
approval of an amended procedure which 
overcame one of the most restrictive fea- 
tures of the original directive. To circum- 
vent the difficulty of computing require- 
ments for the very tentative troop basis 
then in existence, it was decided that 
equipment would not be shipped for spe- 
cific units, but rather for "type" units. 
While shipments were ostensibly com- 
puted from the troop basis, the troop basis 
was recognized as largely fictitious, and 
equipment was to be shipped for type in- 
fantry divisions, antiaircraft battalions, 
port battalions, and so on, on the safe as- 
sumption that the theater would even- 
tually need and get these types of units. 
The equipment was to be stockpiled or 
pooled in U.K. depots for issue to such 
units upon their arrival. Thus, while hav- 
ing a definite relationship to a troop basis 
of tentative dimensions, equipment was to 
be shipped in bulk and not earmarked for 
particular units. 

Even this amendment did not permit a 
full blossoming of the preshipment idea as 
originally conceived. Supplies intended 
for advance shipment still were to be 
drawn only from excess stock or produc- 
tion. They not only held a priority below 

that assigned to normal shipments to the 
United Kingdom, which was already near 
the bottom of the priority list of overseas 
theaters, but were far down on the priority 
list of units in various stages of training in 
the United States. Only after all the pre- 
scribed training allowances of units had 
been filled as they moved upward in the 
priority scale in preparation for overseas 
movement could supplies be made avail- 
able for advance shipment purposes. 

The preshipment procedure therefore 
began under heavy handicaps. Other 
theaters, the training allowances of troops 
in the United States, and high priority 
operations all took precedence. In fairness 
to those who worked out the emasculated 
version of the scheme it should be said 
that this was probably the highest position 
preshipment could be accorded at the 
time. It was wholly consistent with cur- 
rent strategic aims, for the cross-Channel 
operation was to remain in doubt for sev- 
eral months to come. The immediate aim 
of preshipment, after all, was not to guar- 
antee an unlimited build-up for Bolero, 
but to obtain sufficient cargo to fill the 
available shipping space in the next few 
months. In the four months from May 
through August the "surplus" of space 
over the normal requirements of troops 
moving to the United Kingdom was 
expected to total 784,000 measurement 
tons. Beginning in September the heavier 
troop flow was expected to absorb all 
available tonnage for the cargo which 
would normally accompany units. In fact, 
cargo shipping space would fall short of 
requirements in the fall, and the preship- 
ment program was therefore anticipating 
the heavy cargo requirements of later 
months. These expected developments 
gave the proposal an unassailable logic. 

Even in the context of its limited objec- 


Table 4 — Cargo Flow to the United Kingdom in 1943 




Measurement tons 

Long tons 

r^C ft fifth 1-r? 

from Jan 42 

from Jan 42 

1 OO Add. 






92 948 











A rtrf I 















































Source: Shipment data from [Richard M. Leighton] Problem of Troop and Cargo Flow in Preparing the European Inva- 
sion, 1943-44, prep in Hist Sec, Control Div, ASF, 1945, MS, p. 154, OCMH. Receipt data from TC Monthly Progress 
Rpts, Statistics Br, OCofT, SOS ETO, ETO Adm 450-51. 

tive, however, preshipment did not achieve 
its goal. Despite strenuous efforts, suf- 
ficient cargo could not be found to fill the 
space released by the reduction in troop 
movements. A total of 135,000 measure- 
ment tons was shipped to the United 
Kingdom before the end of April, but this 
left approximately 100,000 tons capacity 
which could not be filled and was there- 
fore turned back to the War Shipping 
Administration. 76 The same inability to 
fill available shipping space continued in 
varying degree throughout the next four 
months. Approximately 1,050,000 tons of 
shipping were made available for May 
and June, but less than 800,000 tons of 
cargo were dispatched. (Table 4) In July 
780,000 tons of an allocated 1,012,000 
tons of space were utilized, and in August 
only 730,000 tons were shipped as 
against the available 1,122,000. Of the 
2,304,000 measurement tons shipped 

to the United Kingdom in the four-month 
period from May through August, slightly 
more than 900,000 tons, or 39 percent, 
represented preshipped cargo. This was a 
large proportion, but hardly represented 
a spectacular achievement in preship- 
ment. The percentage was. this high only 
because troop sailings to the United King- 
dom were small in these months and the 
normal accompanying equipment and 
supplies accounted for a relatively small 
portion of the total cargo space. Preship- 
ment was actually failing to achieve its 
immediate purpose, which was to utilize 

76 A measurement ton, in contrast to a long ton, is 
a unit of volume rather than weight, reckoned at 40 
cubic feet. Since the density of cargo varies greatly, 
there is no fixed conversion factor between measure- 
ment and long tons, but in shipments to the ETO 
over a long period one long ton was equivalent 
to approximately 2.6 measurement tons. The terms 
"ship ton" and "measurement ton" are inter- 



all available shipping. Furthermore, full 
advantage was not being taken of the long 
summer days when British ports were at 
their maximum capacity and relatively 
free from air attack. 

The failure to achieve even the narrow 
aims of the preshipment program is not 
too surprising in view of the status of 
Allied plans in the summer of 1943. 
Fundamental to the failure was the low 
priority accorded preshipment cargo. This 
in turn reflected in part the doubts that 
surrounded future strategy. Even the 
Trident Conference, with its resolutions 
on the Combined Bomber Offensive, cross- 
Channel attack, and the accelerated 
build-up, did not resolve these doubts. 
The temptation still remained to commit 
Allied resources more deeply into the 
Mediterranean, and throughout the sum- 
mer the possibility remained that there 
might be no cross-Channel operation after 
all. Late in June came the request from 
North Africa for additional personnel, 
which further upset planned troop flow to 
the United Kingdom, and in July there 
were indications that the entire European 
strategy would be reconsidered. 

In view of the wavering strategic plans, 
preshipment definitely involved risks. 
Tying up additional equipment in the 
U.K. depots might actually make it dif- 
ficult to equip a force for a major opera- 
tion elsewhere except by reshipping the 
stocks from the United Kingdom. Logistic 
plans had been mapped out at Trident to 
conform with strategy; but with the stra- 
tegic emphasis subject to change, logistic 
plans could hardly be stable. Nothing 
demonstrated so pointedly the necessity 
for firm objectives if the logistic effort was 
to be effective. 

The instability of preshipment plans 
was best exemplified in the Chief of Staff's 

directive of 8 July ordering the advance 
shipment suspended after 15 August until 
the strategic situation was clarified. By 
early August most of the equipment for 
troops scheduled to reach the ETO by the 
end of 1943 had been shipped, and it was 
necessary to reach a decision on preship- 
ment of equipment for troops sailing after 
the first of January. Fortunately the air 
had cleared somewhat by this time, and 
the list of ground units scheduled to sail 
before 1 May 1944, completing the first 
phase troop basis, was complete. On 13 
August came approval of preshipment on 
the extended troop basis, thus allowing 
advance shipment of supplies to continue. 

It was only a few days later that the 
Quadrant Conference at Quebec reaf- 
firmed earlier decisions on operations in 
Europe, dispelling much of the fog of the 
past two months and incidentally reaffirm- 
ing the validity of preshipment. The 
conferees again recognized the all-impor- 
tant problem of U.K. port capacity, which 
had a significant bearing on the entire 
cargo shipping program. British officials 
had already called attention to the prob- 
lem at Casablanca and at Trident, 
noting that the maximum practical limit 
was 150 shiploads per month, even with 
the help of U.S. dock labor. At the 
Trident Conference in May they had 
agreed to a quarterly schedule of sailings 
to meet U.S. requirements averaging 90 
ships per month in the third and fourth 
quarters of 1943, and 137 per month in 
the first and second quarters of 1944. By 
August, however, it had become evident 
thaj: the slow rate of troop and cargo 
movements during the spring and summer 
would force a tremendous acceleration of 
movements in the fall and winter, which 
would be beyond the capacity of U.K. 
ports. British officials were particularly 



concerned about the pressure in the 
months immediately preceding the inva- 
sion, when ports would also be taxed by 
out-loading activities. The primary cause 
of this limitation was the shortage of labor, 
and measures were already being taken to 
dispatch additional U.S. port battalions to 
the United Kingdom in anticipation of the 

At Quebec British officials insisted on a 
revision of the earlier sailing schedules, 
calling for an increase to 103 shiploads per 
month in the fourth quarter of 1943, and 
a reduction to 1 1 9 per month in the first 
and second quarters of 1944. 77 Advancing 
the heavier shipments to the fall of 1 943 
was obviously indicated to relieve the 
strain in the early months of 1944, and 
also to make up for the lag during the 
summer of 1943. The schedule revision 
meant a net reduction of 77 ships for the 
nine-month period, however, and placed 
a ceiling on U.K. reception capacity which 
was considerably below the quantity of 
ships and cargo the War Shipping Admin- 
istration and the ASF could provide. So 
far as preshipment was concerned, the 
remaining months of 1943 were to be 
crucial, since the equipment accompany- 
ing the heavy troop unit movements in 
1944 would certainly absorb the bulk of 
the available shipping after the first of the 
year. Efforts were therefore bent toward 
finding cargo to fill the available shipping 
in the remaining months of 1943. 

Cargo shipments to the United King- 
dom in August totaled only 730,300 
measurement tons, and well reflected the 
numerous logistical problems which could 
affect the carrying out of Bolero. Rear- 
mament of additional French divisions in 
North Africa, first of all, had drawn off 
about 250,000 tons. In addition, August 
had seen the diversion of U.S. personnel to 

North Africa, resulting in smaller troop 
movements to the United Kingdom and, 
in turn, relatively small normal cargo 
shipments. Consequently, of the 730,200 
tons shipped that month, an abnormally 
large proportion — about 48.7 percent — 
represented preshipped cargo, even though 
the total tonnage was not large. Ship- 
ments in September and October were 
considerably larger, totaling 906,981 and 
1,018,343 measurement tons, respectively. 
In these months, however, troop sailings 
were so much heavier that preshipped 
cargo accounted for only 40,4 and 36.5 

November shipping also felt the effect 
of outside logistic factors. The decision 
had been made at Trident, and reaf- 
firmed at Quebec, to transfer four Amer- 
ican divisions from the Mediterranean to 
the United Kingdom. This redeployment 
was largely carried out in November and 
had its repercussion on the U.K. build-up 
by diverting troop shipping and cutting 
deeply into the planned troop sailings 
from the United States. Once more the 
ASF was suddenly faced with the problem 
of finding equipment to fill the cargo ship- 
ping released by this cancellation of troop 
movements. The result was evident in the 
tonnage figures for November. Less than 
850,000 tons were shipped that month, 
but of this total 457,868 tons, or 54 
percent, were preshipped equipment, the 
largest advance shipment yet achieved in 
both actual tons and percentage of total 
cargo. Even this figure was misleading, 
however, for three of the four divisions 
transferred from North Africa had to be 
equipped from stocks established in the 
United Kingdom. In December a total of 
910,482 measurement tons was shipped to 

77 CCS 329/2, 26 Aug 43, Annex VII. 



the United Kingdom. Because of the con- 
siderably heavier troop sailings with their 
accompanying equipment, however, pre- 
shipped cargo totaled only 318,314 tons, 
or 35 percent. A comparison of actual ship 
sailings with those scheduled in May and 
August is given below: 78 


Date DENT RANT Actual 

3d quarter 1943 . . . 259 — — 241 

4th quarter 1943 . . . 280 308 273 

Actual sailings, therefore, did not even 
achieve the ceilings established at the 
Trident Conference, much less the accel- 
erated schedule agreed on at Quebec for 
the last three months of 1943. A com- 
parison of total tonnages shipped with 
tonnage allocated likewise reveals the 
inability to allocate sufficient cargo to fill 
the available shipping. In the eight-month 
period from May through December 
approximately 1,400,000 tons of shipping 
were allocated in excess of the ASF 's abil- 
ity to provide cargo. The result foreboded 
serious trouble, for the mounting troop 
movements of 1944 were bound to turn 
the surplus tonnages of 1 943 into 
deficits. 79 

At the heart of the supply build-up 
problem was the system of priorities which 
had been necessitated by the inability of 
U.S. production facilities to fill all require- 
ments simultaneously. Existing priorities 
relegated ground force cargo for the Euro- 
pean theater to eighth place (priority 
A-lb-8) and gave advance shipments to 
the theater an even lower rating. Fully 
aware of the priority handicap, the ASF 
in the early stages of the preshipment 
program had suggested a revision of pri- 
orities for equipment as applied to units in 
training in the United States, but met 
strong opposition from the Army Ground 

Forces. In September the ASF again 
raised the question, this time with strong 
backing from the theater. ETOUSA was 
particularly worried about certain critical 
shortages and pointed out that even mini- 
mum requirements of engineer and signal 
equipment had not been met. There was 
need for 125,000 long tons of organiza- 
tional equipment for troops arriving in 
October alone, and in view of the time 
required for distribution, supplies were 
neither arriving sufficiently in advance 
nor keeping pace with the personnel 
build-up. 80 Yet no action was taken to 
change priorities, and in September and 
October sufficient cargo was again lacking 
to fill available shipping space. 

In November the ASF finally succeeded 
in persuading the General Staff to accord 
cargo for preshipment the same priority as 
normal theater shipments (that is, A-lb-8 
for ground forces and A-lb-4 for air 
forces). But this proved to be a minor 
concession. At the end of November, when 
the new priority went into effect, it was 
already apparent that available cargo 
space could not be filled for that month. 

78 These figures are valid only for purposes of com- 
parison. The number of sailings was actually expected 
to be greater and was in fact considerably greater 
than indiaated above. These figures represent ton- 
nages converted to ships with uniform capacity of 
10,000 tons. The total cargo ship sailings actually 
exceeded 600 in the fourth quarter of 1943, for 
example, many of them with loads of less than a 
thousand tons. 

79 Actually, the world-wide shipping situation was 
much tighter than is indicated by the allocations to 
the ETO. The "surpluses" for U.K. shipment were 
surpluses only in terms of the available cargo, which 
was insufficient to utilize the space made available 
for the Bolerq shipments. For greater detail on the 
whole shipping situation see Leighton and Goakley, 
The Logistics of Global Warfare. 

80 Ltr, Lee to WD, 25 Sep 43, sub: Bolero Supply- 
Program, and Memo, Col Lord for Lee, 25 Sep 43, 
sub: Evaluation of Supply Program and Present 
Supply Status, ETO 390.1 Bolero Supply Program. 



More important, by this time troop move- 
ments to the United Kingdom had 
increased to such a scale that the bulk of 
available tonnage was taken up by the 
normal equipment accompanying troops. 
In other words, the flow of personnel was 
now beginning to catch up with the flow 
of cargo, and it was no longer possible to 
advance-ship large tonnages. The stock of 
preshipped equipment in the United 
Kingdom was beginning to melt away. Of 
the estimated 1,040,000 tons of preshipped 
equipment in the United Kingdom on 1 
November, almost half was to be issued to 
arriving troops within two months. Some 
question even arose as to whether an 
adequate flow of cargo could be main- 
tained to support the scheduled flow of 
troops. There certainly were doubts about 
the possibility of meeting the critical 
shortages under existing priorities. 

By the end of the year, then, the nub of 
the problem was the theater's priority, 
which it now became imperative to raise. 
Early in December the ASF asked OPD 
to raise ETOUSA's priority for air force 
equipment from 4 to 1, and that for 
ground force equipment from 8 to 2. It 
requested the same priority for advance 
shipments, The General Staff approved 
this plan and put it into effect before the 
end of the year. In the remaining months 
before D Day ETOUSA was therefore to 
enjoy the highest priority for all items 
required. Enormous tonnages still re- 
mained to be shipped to meet the require- 
ments of the 1 May troop basis and the 
many special operational needs of the 
cross-Channel invasion. 

The mounting tonnages of supplies 
which began to arrive in British ports in 
1943 naturally placed a tremendous bur- 
den on the growing SOS organization. 

Fortunately, there was to be no repetition 
of the unhappy experience of 1942. The 
Services of Supply was a much more 
experienced organization by this time, and 
1943 had witnessed a steady improvement 
in shipping and receiving techniques and 
procedures. The goal of the shipping pro- 
gram was of course to put down in the 
United Kingdom adequate supplies in 
such a way that they could be properly 
stored and distributed. To achieve this 
objective posed problems for the theater 
and the zone of interior which were closely 
related. The extent to which cargoes were 
to be segregated in the U.K. ports, for 
example, had a direct bearing on the 
marking and manifesting procedure of the 
port of embarkation and the zone of 
interior depots. Likewise, the marking and 
documentation system and the degree to 
which cargoes could be broken down 
when vessels were unloaded largely deter- 
mined the nature of the depot system in 
the theater. Because of the many restric- 
tions on the handling of supplies in the 
theater, however, the theater SOS in most 
cases was left with little choice in its 
methods, thus placing on the zone of 
interior the burden of accommodating 
itself to these difficulties. 

The importance to the theater of having 
cargo properly marked and manifested 
had already been demonstrated. Prepara- 
tions for Torch had served as an object 
lesson: the theater must be properly noti- 
fied of the status of its requisitions and 
shipments, and cargo must be adequately 
marked. Nothing so stultified plans for 
future action as not knowing what re- 
sources could be counted on. 

The need for adequate advance infor- 
mation was fully recognized. Standing 
operating procedures provided for an 
elaborate reporting system intended to 



keep the theater informed of the status of 
its requests at every stage. The key docu- 
ment in the series was the manifest, which 
contained the first detailed information 
for overseas port agencies regarding a 
cargo's contents and stowage, making it 
possible to plan unloading and distribu- 
tion. Until the end of 1942, however, this 
system of notification had proved inade- 
quate. The manifest was often incomplete, 
lacked uniformity, was illegible, used a 
haphazard nomenclature, and even 
though sent by air mail, frequently did not 
arrive ahead of the cargo. 

The second aspect of the problem- 
proper identification of cargo — was even 
thornier. Some of the worst marking prac- 
tices had been eliminated after the frus- 
trating experience in connection with the 
Torch preparations, but the marking sys- 
tem still fell short of the theater's needs. 
As it evolved in 1942, the system of ship- 
ment identification provided only three or 
four elements of information: a shipping 
designator in the form of a four-letter code 
name which indicated the theater or area 
to which the cargo was addressed; an 
abbreviation of the supply service making 
the shipment; and the Roman numeral 
indicating the class of supplies. For ex- 
ample, Ugly-QMII was used to mark a 
crate of quartermaster Class II supplies 
going to the United Kingdom. This mark- 
ing was unsatisfactory to the ETO, for it 
failed to allow the identification of sep- 
arate items of shipment with the cor- 
responding items of the requisition. The 
theater desired a series of symbols by 
which each item in a shipment could be 
matched with corresponding items on all 
the supply papers and reports, such as the 
requisition, shipping papers, availability 
notices, packing lists, manifests, loading 
cables, and so on. 

The theater's need for such an elabora- 
tion of the marking system was dictated 
largely by conditions in the United King- 
dom. ETOUSA had originally planned, 
in accordance with normal practice, to 
have cargo shipped from the port areas to 
central base depots in the United King- 
dom. There it would be segregated and 
then reshipped to advance or branch 
depots, which would distribute supplies to 
using units. This system was too extrava- 
gant in the use of transportation and depot 
facilities. British railways were heavily 
burdened, and depot space was always at 
a premium. To avoid the cross-hauling 
and back-hauling, and to save labor in the 
repeated handling of supplies which this 
system involved, ETOUSA desired a 
marking procedure which would so com- 
pletely identify specific items of a shipment 
with the original requisition that they 
could be routed directly from the port to 
specific depots. 

In 1942 the War Department instructed 
the various theaters to work out their own 
codes for this purpose, and ETOUSA of- 
ficials gave the problem careful study. By 
December 1942 the SOS staff had worked 
out a plan, and two of its authors, Col. E. 
C. Goodwin and Maj. Charles Case, were 
sent to Washington to urge its adoption. 
The Ugly system, as it was called, simply 
expanded on the original identification 
procedure, adding the necessary code 
symbols so that each item of shipment 
could be matched with the original requi- 
sition and corresponding items on all sup- 
ply documents. The specific requisition 
was indicated by a letter and a three-digit 
number. Each service was allocated a 
block of numbers. The Quartermaster 
Corps, for example, could use any number 
from 001 to 099, and increased the pos- 
sible number of combinations by adding 



a letter to indicate the series of requisi- 
tions. BO 19, for example, was the nine- 
teenth in series B of QM requisitions, and 
in submitting requisition BO 19 the theater 
would request that all shipments made 
against it be marked Ugly-QMII-B019. 
This included the basic ingredients of the 
marking code and provided a complete 
oversea address. It was to be stamped on 
all containers in a shipment against a par- 
ticular requisition, and thus permitted the 
identification of a particular item, case, or 
crate of supplies with the requisition 
requesting it. 

There were other refinements and elab- 
orations. When more than one shipment, 
or shipments from two or more depots, 
were made against one requisition, addi- 
tional letter and number symbols were 
added to indicate the depot making the 
shipment and the number of the shipment. 
When the New York Port received a 
requisition from London it frequently 
made extracts for filling for the various de- 
pots where the supplies were stored, and 
instructed these depots to add the neces- 
sary code and number to the marking to 
identify its part of the original requisition. 
The Raritan Arsenal, for example, might 
mark its shipment as follows: Ugly- 
ORDII-B320RA6. Each of the other ord- 
nance depots filling a portion of the B320 
requisition would add its appropriate let- 
ter code and shipment number. Addi- 
tional abbreviations could be inserted to 
indicate specific convoys, priorities, ad- 
vance shipments, and so on. From the 
theater point of view this plan not only 
provided a satisfactory means of marking 
shipments and matching shipments with 
requisitions, but overcame the persistent 
difficulties of keeping the theater informed 
of the status of its requests. The manifest 
procedure was uncertain at best; the pro- 

posed system provided brief, simple code 
symbols for each shipment, which could 
be transmitted by cable as soon as a ship- 
ment had been loaded. It virtually assured 
the theater of receiving a complete listing 
of the items in a shipment before it even 
left the New York Port, and eliminated all 
nomenclature references, on which there 
was such confusing lack of uniformity. 
Finally, upon a vessel's departure the 
cargo loading cable gave the theater even 
more exact information on the tonnage of 
cargo for each requisition number and 
partial shipment. 81 

The War Department did not receive 
the ETOUSA plan with open arms. All 
agencies concerned subjected it to an 
exhaustive examination and, while ad- 
mitting its advantages, raised strong 
objections. The Transportation Corps in 
particular was critical. The inauguration 
of the new system involved a complete re- 
organization of supply procedures, it 
claimed, and a complete reindoctrination 
of supply personnel. Furthermore, the 
Transportation Corps had recently put 
into effect a more detailed manifest break- 
down which it hoped would meet the past 
criticism by the theater, and desired that 
it be given an opportunity to prove its 
worth. Early in January General Lutes 
therefore asked the theater to withhold 
the new plan, but promised to put it into 
operation should the improved manifest 
fail to meet ETOUSA's needs. A few 
weeks later General Lee held a conference 
of his service chiefs, as a result of which he 
reported to the War Department that the 
new manifest was proving unsatisfactory. 
The figures compiled by the service chiefs 
indicated that the system had actually de- 

81 This description of the marking problem is 
drawn primarily from Chapter V of Problem of 
Troop and Cargo Flow. 



teriorated. The manifests still lacked the 
type of information needed to indicate the 
status of requisitions or to show what sup- 
plies were afloat or en route. They were 
often arriving too late to be of any use to 
the overseas port commander in giving 
disposal instructions. 

Once more the authors of the Ugly 
plan were sent to Washington, and the ex- 
perience of December was repeated. The 
War Department appeared more opposed 
to the ETOUSA plan than ever. It insisted 
that further improvements had been made 
in the manifest, meeting the theater's ob- 
jections, and it now questioned the entire 
basis for the detailed system which the 
theater was demanding. General Lutes 
felt that the ASF was being asked to ac- 
commodate all of its shipping procedure 
to, the U.K. depot system. The theater was 
asking for a detailed advance documenta- 
tion of shipments so that it could plan the 
final disposition of every package even be- 
fore its arrival, and so that it could make 
a minute breakdown of cargo at the port 
and forward it to the branch and issue de- 
pots in a direct single haul. According to 
General Lutes, this would put the ASF 
into the "retail business." He thought 
there was great danger of becoming 
bogged down in such detailed documenta- 
tion of supplies for the support of a million 
or more men. The ASF had in mind a 
more "wholesale" handling of supplies, 
whereby cargo could be broken down by 
service near the port and then moved to 
interior depots. Since distances were short 
in the United Kingdom, the ASF assumed 
that much of the redistribution of cargo 
could be handled by trucks. 82 

The theater avoided using motor trans- 
port for that purpose, however, until the 
rail lines became hopelessly burdened. 
The narrow and winding roads of the 

United Kingdom were not meant to be 
used by the large vehicles of military con- 
voys. So far as the breakdown of cargo in 
the port area was concerned, this was im- 
possible unless cargo was adequately 
marked. The SOS had met this problem 
partially by the use of inland sheds where 
supplies were segregated and sometimes 
stored until shipped to the branch and 
general depots. But General Lee opposed 
the establishment of a complete branch 
storage system in the vicinity of the ports 
because it entailed a far heavier construc- 
tion program than could be sustained. He 
held to the original SOS proposal for a 
marking and forwarding procedure which 
would be adaptable to the United King- 
dom's storage and transportation system 
and which would facilitate the distribu- 
tion of supplies within the theater, even if 
it meant changes in zone of interior proce- 
dures. If this could be accomplished 
through a more efficient manifest system, 
well and good. General Lee recognized 
some good features in the existing manifest 
system and thought it could be improved 
even further by the inauguration of a new 
high priority courier service, but it was 
obvious that ETOUSA did not care to 
place its faith in a system which had been 
found so wanting in the past. 83 

Late in March the War Department 
approved and put into effect some of the 
most important features of the Ugly plan 
in connection with cargo shipments to the 
United Kingdom. Its application at this 
time represented a compromise, since it 
was intended mainly to supplement the 

82 Ltr, Lutes to Lee, 6 Mar 43, USFET AG 400.161 
Marking of Supplies 1942-43, 

83 Ltr, Lee to Lutes, 1 Apr 43, USFET AG 400.161 
Marking of Supplies 1942-43. See also SOS ETO 
Tentative Overall Plan for Supply and Administra- 
tion, 12 Apr 43, Revised Editions of 20 Jun 43 and 1 
Jan 44, ETO Adm 369. 

MOTOR CONVOY waiting to board landing craft during a training exercise, Falmouth, 
England, December 1943, above; convoy moving along road in England, below. 



manifest system and therefore to facilitate 
the notification of the theater about com- 
ing shipments and in the immediate 
handling of cargo upon its arrival. It did 
not implement those portions of the plan 
which would have given the theater infor- 
mation on exactly what portions of its 
requisitions had been filled, on partial 
shipments on the same requisition, and on 
the shipping depot. The result was that 
stock control and record keeping remained 
very complicated and constantly in 

The problem of stock control and ade- 
quate supply records concerned the ASF 
as much as the theater and was intimately 
related to the problem of transmitting 
adequate information about shipments to 
the theater. Partly because of the con- 
tinuing unsatisfactory system of overseas 
supply records, and partly because of the 
increasingly obvious advantages of the 
Ugly system, the ASF extended the 
ETOUSA plan late in May. Under its 
fuller application the procedure now pro- 
vided that separate shipments made 
against particular requisitions would be 
completely identified by the symbols in 
the third portion of the overseas address 
already described. In fact, this particular 
feature of the procedure was specifically 
emphasized by the new title which the 
ASF now gave it— "Identification of Sep- 
arate Shipments to Oversea Destina- 
tions" (later referred to simply as ISS). In 
effect, the system now embodied virtually 
the entire Ugly plan. 

Meanwhile the theater persuaded the 
ASF to accept still another refinement in 
the shipping procedure which further fa- 
cilitated the handling of cargo in the 
United Kingdom by relieving the strain 
on British transportation. Until the spring 
of 1943 cargo was loaded on available 

ships in the United States without much 
regard to destination in the United King- 
dom. Upon arrival of the ships in U.K. 
waters the Ministry of War Transport, in 
so far as possible in accordance with the 
wishes of the SOS service chiefs, allocated 
vessels to the ports best suited to serve the 
destinations of the bulk of the cargo in a 
particular ship. The long rail hauls fre- 
quently required to move cargo from the 
port to its ultimate destination thus placed 
a burden on British internal transporta- 
tion facilities. It would obviously not do to 
continue this wasteful practice when the 
rate of the Bolero build-up increased to 
150 or more ships per month. 

Early in 1943 representatives of the 
British War Office, the Ministry of War 
Transport, the British Railways, the War 
Shipping Administration, and the SOS 
met to study the problem and worked out 
a plan designed to eliminate much of the 
cross- and back-hauling involved in the 
current practice. This was the zoning sys- 
tem which the War Department approved 
in April and implemented three months 
later. By this plan the United Kingdom 
was at first divided into two zones for the 
receipt of cargo. Zone I, designated by the 
code word Soxo, included the entire area 
north of a line of county boundaries 
drawn through London and Banbury, and 
thus embraced the Clyde and Mersey 
River ports (chiefly Glasgow, Liverpool, 
and Manchester) and also the Humber 
River ports of Hull and Immingham on 
the eastern seaboard. Zone II, known as 
Glue, included the southern portions of 
England and Wales, and the ports of the 
Bristol Channel and Plymouth, South- 
ampton, and London. A third area, Zone 
III, comprising Northern Ireland and 
named Bang, was added later. It was in- 
tended that each zone should be served by 



its own ports alone and that there should 
be a minimum of hauling from the ports 
of one zone into another. 84 Service chiefs 
in the United Kingdom were to requisi- 
tion for a particular zone, and ships were 
to be loaded in the United States so far as 
possible with cargo for that zone. Most 
cargo henceforth bore the shipping desig- 
nator Soxo, Glue, or Bang, depending on 
the group of ports to which it was directed, 
instead of Ugly, which was now used only 
on cargo not intended for any particular 
port group in the United Kingdom. Based 
on an estimated maximum 160 ship ar- 
rivals per month, the space and facilities 
were allocated to handle 65 vessels in 
Zone I, 85 in Zone II, and 10 in Zone III. 
By the end of the year the ports of the 
three zones were handling 41 percent, 53 
percent, and 6 percent respectively of the 
incoming cargo, approximately according 
to the planned loads. 85 

Using data from the various shipping 
documents, such as the manifests, and the 
cargo loading cables which were dis- 
patched from the United States upon the 
departure of the ships, the chiefs of services 
indicated the depots to which they wanted 
particular supplies delivered. With this 
information Transportation Corps repre- 
sentatives attended the meeting of the 
Diversion Committee of the Ministry of 
War Transport at London shortly before 
the arrival of a convoy in British waters 
and decided on the basis of available 
berths, handling equipment, size of the 
ships, and type of cargo at which port each 
vessel was to be discharged. Once these 
decisions were made, the information was 
passed along to the service chiefs, who 
then determined the final destination of 
each item of cargo. By the time a vessel 
berthed, the port commander was sup- 
posed to have in his hands precise knowl- 

edge of the size, weight, and location of all 
cargo in the ship and the ultimate depot 
destination of every item. This informa- 
tion also enabled transportation officials 
to have the required rolling stock avail- 
able for movement inland. Clearance of 
the ports always had a high priority on the 
British railways and roads so as to prevent 
backlogs and congestion in the port areas, 
which were frequent targets for the Luft- 
waffe. As the British freight wagons left 
the ports, depot commanders were imme- 
diately notified by telephone so that they 
could make preparations to receive the 
supplies. 86 

The procedure described above was, in 
theory at least, the scheme for the, ship- 
ment to and receipt of cargo in the United 
Kingdom as gradually worked out in 
1943. The system at first appeared highly 
complex, especially to the ASF, which in 
the eyes of the theater did not fully com- 
prehend the peculiarities of supply prob- 
lems in the United Kingdom, and the 
ASF was understandably reluctant to 
undertake the overhauling of its supply 
procedures and reindoctrination of thou- 

84 Some of the cargo entering the Clyde ports was 
to be transferred by coaster to the Mersey River ports 
in Zone II. 

86 Ltr, Lee to GG ASF, 5 Apr 43, sub: Zoning of 
U.K. for Receipt of U.S. Army Cargo, and Memo, 
Hq ASF for CofT et «/., 27 Apr 43, sub: Zoning of 
U.K. for Receipt of Cargo, ETO 381 Opns Data, 
Basic Ping Dir 1, Transportation; Memo, Lt Col 
W. D. Holland, Asst to CoflS ASF, for Devers, 7 May 
43, with Incl, Rpt, sub: Resume of Gonf between 
Gen Devers and Representatives of CG ASF, Chiefs 
of Supply SOS, et al, 7 May 43, ETO Adm 337 1943 
Confs; Troop and Supply Buildup in the United 
Kingdom to D Day, Pt. Ill of The Administrative 
and Logistical History of the ETO, prep by Hist Div 
USFET, 1946, MS (hereafter cited as Troop and Sup- 
ply Buildup), pp. 192-94, 244, OCMH. 

86 History of the Transportation Corps ETO, prep 
by Int and Hist Br, Ping Div, OCofT ETO, 1944, 
MS (hereafter cited as History of the TC, ETO), I 
(1942-43), 12-13, ETO Adm 582. 



sands of its personnel. But the new system 
quickly proved its worth and earned the 
almost unanimous approval of all thea- 
ters. In the fall of 1943 the Transportation 
Corps added still another improvement to 
the procedure. It perfected its so-called 
date-line system, scheduling each step in 
processing requisitions and planning ship- 
ments by a series of deadlines, all actions 
being geared to a fixed convoy sailing 
date. The result was an integration of the 
several processes into a synchronized op- 
eration which eliminated many of the 
last-minute changes which had character- 
ized the preparation of shipments before. 
The addition of still another symbol — the 
time priority or convoy cycle symbol — to 
the overseas address removed still more of 
the uncertainty for theater supply offi- 
cials. 87 By the end of 1943, when the tre- 
mendous cargo shipments to the United 
Kingdom were getting under way, the 
ISS, bearing many of the features of the 
originally proposed Ugly plan, was fully 
developed and in operation. 

(4) Troop and Cargo Reception 

The peculiarities and limitations of 
British facilities influenced logistic oper- 
ations along the entire supply pipeline, 
reaching back to the depots and even the 
factories in the zone of interior. In Eng- 
land every service and facility groaned 
under the burden of wartime demands 
and was subjected to the closest control. 
For personnel and cargo arriving in the 
United Kingdom this first became evident 
in the field of transportation. Two agen- 
cies, both under the Ministry of War 
Transport, exercised a tight control over 
all water and land transport. Sea Trans- 
port at first controlled the entire working 
of vessels from berthing to unloading, al- 

though the U.S. Transportation Corps by 
1943 was given full control of American 
ships in the ports. Movement Control di- 
rected all transportation inland. 

By far the most important of the points 
of entry for American supplies and per- 
sonnel were the Clyde and Mersey River 
ports and those of the Bristol Channel. 
The Humber River ports (Hull and Im- 
mingham), London, and the southern 
ports of Southampton and Plymouth, 
while important in peacetime, were for a 
long time unsafe because of both enemy 
submarine and air attacks, and were not 
extensively used on American account 
until the avalanche of supplies began late 
in 1943. The Clyde ports — consisting-of 
Greenock, Gourock, and, fifteen miles up 
the river, Glasgow — were the main points 
of debarkation for American troops. At all 
three ports troops were debarked by 
tender, in midstream at Glasgow, and in 
the broad, deep anchorage known as the 
"Tail of the Bank" at Greenock and 
Gourock. They immediately entrained at 
quayside for their assigned destinations. 
Glasgow possessed excellent dock facil- 
ities, including the necessary cranes. But 
the Clyde area was relatively removed 
from the principal U.S. lines of communi- 
cations and was used mainly for troop re- 
ception, accounting for more than half, or 
873,163, of the 1,671,010 U.S. debarka- 
tions to 30 May 1944. 88 It accounted for 
only about 8 percent — 1,138,000 measure- 
ment tons, or 226,000 long tons — of the 
total U.S. tonnage discharged in the 
United Kingdom through May 1944. 

The Bristol Channel ports — Swansea, 
Cardiff, Newport, and Avonmouth — and 

87 See Oversea Supply Policies and Procedures, 
prep by Richard M. Leighton, ASF Historian, 1945, 
MS, Ch. IV, Sec. 3, OCMH. 

88 Statistical Progress Rpt, OCofT ETO, 30 Jun 44. 




the Mersey ports — Liverpool, Garston, 
Manchester, and Birkenhead — were lo- 
cated nearer the center of U.S. activity 
and tended to specialize in freight dis- 
charge. The two groups of ports accounted 
for 9,750,000 measurement tons (3,800,- 
000 long tons) or 70 percent of all tonnage 
brought into the United Kingdom for 
American troops through May 1944. Most 
of the heavy equipment and supplies, such 
as tanks, guns, and ammunition, were 
brought through these ports, although 
often with great difficulty. Much of the 
equipment at these ports was outmoded 
and inadequate for unloading directly 
from ship to rail, or rails were so con- 
structed that it was impossible to follow 
the American practice of moving cargo by 
means of pallets and fork-lift trucks or 

tractor-drawn trailers. Many improve- 
ments were made in cargo-handling 
methods, however, including the use of 
special slings for lifting explosives, and the 
construction of floating cranes for han- 
dling tanks and tractors. With the mount- 
ing tonnage receipts in the summer of 
1943 these ports were hard pressed to pre- 
vent the formation of backlogs, but by one 
expedient or another they managed to 
keep their quays cleared. The Mersey 
ports, in addition to discharging about 
4,500,000 measurement tons of freight, 
debarked more than a half million U.S. 

American cargo imports constituted 
only a fraction of the total volume of 
freight which flowed through the British 
ports. Throughout the war years Britain 



required an import program to meet its 
civil needs and sustain its war effort which 
ran to about 25,000,000 tons per year. In 
1943 U.S. imports into the United King- 
dom added another 2,500,000 tons to this 
volume of traffic. The capacity of the ports 
to handle these enormous tonnages was 
limited as much by labor difficulties as by 
the inadequacies of the physical plant. 
The fighting services had long since drawn 
off the younger and more able-bodied 
men, leaving a labor force both smaller 
and less efficient. The average age of 
dockers at Liverpool, for example, was 
52. 89 Port operations were also plagued by 
prevailing employment practices in the 
United Kingdom. Before the war British 
dock work was conducted under a system 
of casual labor, with workers shifting from 
dock to dock and from one employer to 
another. In the summer of 1940 dock 
laborers were required to register and sub- 
mit to compulsory transfer to any port 
where they were needed. The bombing of 
the southern and eastern ports threw an 
increasingly heavy load on the safer west- 
ern ports and made it imperative to bring 
these ports to the fullest efficiency, and 
therefore also required revisions in the 
employment system which still prevailed. 

In 1941, before the Americans came on 
the scene, the entire system of dock em- 
ployment became more regularized, and 
the National Dock Labour Corporation 
was formed to take over as the employer 
of all stevedores. Nevertheless, British 
labor practices still brought many frustra- 
tions. In Northern Ireland, for example, 
port labor was controlled by the stevedor- 
ing concern of G. Heyn and Son, Ltd., 
called Headline, which provided workers 
upon request of the port authorities. For 
this service it received a 20 percent com- 
mission on the gross payroll. Under the 
terms of the contracts it was against the 

interests of both the employer and em- 
ployees to discharge vessels quickly or in 
those ports where handling equipment 
was superior, and the company even at- 
tempted to dictate the port where ships 
were to be berthed. In 1943 this unsatis- 
factory situation was resolved by new con- 
tracts whereby it was to Headline's 
advantage to accomplish a rapid dis- 
charge and therefore assure a quick turn- 
round of vessels. 90 

The labor problem in Belfast was fur- 
ther complicated by the existence of rival 
Catholic and Protestant unions, one of 
which worked coasters and the other 
ocean-going vessels. Since much of the 
cargo discharged at Belfast was trans- 
ferred to English or Scottish ports by 
coaster, a strike started by the union han- 
dling coasters would also tie up discharge 
of ocean-going freighters since there was 
little storage space in the port itself. All in 
all, the situation was highly volatile, and 
disputes over pay and other matters fre- 
quently involved American port officials 
in wildcat strikes or threats to strike, and 
at times delayed the scheduled discharge 
of ships. Until the summer of 1943 the 
British unions restricted the use of military 
labor to those periods when civilian work- 
ers were unavailable. By that time, how- 
ever, the flow of cargo rose to huge 
proportions and resulted in an acute 
labor shortage, and the ban on the use of 
military labor was lifted. In the Bristol 
Channel area the U.S. port commander 
had foreseen this shortage and had an- 
chored a ship at Penarth to train a new 

89 Ltr, Col Walter D. McGord and Lt Col Leo J. 
Meyer to CofT WD, 18 Oct 43, sub: Report, AG 
Records 320.1-353.9 England 1943. 

90 History of the TC, ETO, I, 28-29; The Local 
Procurement of Labor and Supplies, U.K. and Con- 
tinental, Pt. X of The Administrative and Logistical 
History of the ETO, Hist Div USFET, 1946, MS, pp. 



group of fifty Transportation Corps sol- 
diers in unloading methods every two 
weeks. This scheme paid off well when the 
critical labor shortages developed in 1943. 
At the height of the Bolero build-up in 
the spring of 1944 fifteen U.S. port battal- 
ions of approximately 950 men each were 
engaged in the discharge of cargo from 
U.S. -controlled vessels. 91 

The task of moving personnel and cargo 
inland in the United Kingdom fell chiefly 
to the railways. In addition to the limited 
capacity of their rolling stock the British 
railways suffered from other handicaps, 
such as limited head space and inade- 
quate tunnel clearances, which impeded 
the free movement of tanks and other 
awkward equipment. Colonel Ross, chief 
of transportation in the ETO, had re- 
ported after his first look at U.K. facilities 
in 1942, that the country was "so cramped 
and small, the railroad equipment so tiny, 
the roads so small and crooked and meth- 
ods so entirely different" that a complete 
reorientation of operating methods was 
required. 92 By comparison with the rail- 
roads of the United States the British sys- 
tem was indeed in many w r ays a Lillipu- 
tian one. Nevertheless, it accomplished a 
prodigious feat although dangerously 
overburdened, and by the tightest control 
handled traffic approaching the crowded 
schedules of the New York subways. 

With the first inauguration of the 
Bolero build-up in the summer of 1942 a 
question immediately arose as to the role 
of U.S. Transportation Corps personnel in 
the U.K. organization, The British desired 
that American troop units should be ab- 
sorbed into the existing system. Colonel 
Ross objected to such complete integra- 
tion, and quickly established trained traf- 
fic control personnel in the British rail 
transportation offices in the regional com- 
mands to learn the British system of con- 

trol. With continental operations in mind, 
when U.S. Transportation Corps units 
would have to operate their own lines of 
communications, he felt it was his duty to 
develop an organization capable of func- 
tioning independently. He therefore in- 
sisted that the Transportation Corps in the 
ETO be allowed to assume full responsi- 
bilities in transportation operations as 
rapidly as permitted by available person- 
nel. At the same time he organized a re- 
fresher course for transportation officers, 
referred to by some as a "deflation school," 
since it was suspected of having been de- 
signed as much to deflate any latent 
chauvinism which U.S. officers might 
have about U.S. transportation facilities 
and procedures as to orient them in Brit- 
ish railroading methods. 93 

The development of a completely sep- 
arate U.S. transportation system was 
hardly feasible, and ETOUSA agreed 
with British officials to establish a joint 
control. Under this arrangement the 
American traffic control system paralleled 
the British, American personnel working 
closely with British transportation offi- 
cials and assuming a full share of re- 
sponsibility in the control of movements. 
By early 1943 American traffic officers 
were handling all their own transporta- 
tion in areas where U.S. troops were pre- 
ponderant, and American Rail Transpor- 
tation Officers (RTO's) became familiar 
figures in the many stations along the 
British rail lines. Railway operating units 
meanwhile trained by performing switch- 

91 History of the TG, ETO, II (Jan-Mar 44), 
Marine Operations; Memo, Col Meyer for Hugh M. 
Cole, 30 Jul 51, sub: Critique of MS, Sec. I, p. 13, 
OCMH; Ltr, Col McCord and Col Meyer to CofT 
WD, 18 Oct 43, sub: Report. 

92 Ltr, Ross to Gen Wylie, 28 Jul 42, ETO Adm 
314A Transportation — General. 

93 I. Ross, "Ross of ETO," Army Transportation 
Journal, I (April, 1945), 32-36. 



ing service at the depots and operating for 
short distances on the main lines. Amer- 
ican units first took over the operation of 
switchyards at the Ashchurch, Sudbury, 
and Thatcham depots in the fall of 1942, 
and in November for the first time oper- 
ated a "goods" train on a British main 
line, between Sudbury and Egginton. 94 

Since distances were short, no attempt 
was made to establish the normal staging 
system for troops arriving in the United 
Kingdom. By careful scheduling of troop 
trains (up to seventy per day) to meet con- 
voys, worked out in advance by represent- 
atives of the British railways, Movement 
Control, and the Office of the Chief of 
Transportation, ETOUSA, troops could 
be marched directly from boatside to train 
and dispatched to their destinations with- 
out delay. The entire movement had to be 
highly synchronized because passenger 
cars were in short supply, normal civilian 
rail traffic had to be accommodated, and 
rail facilities at the ports were limited. 
RTO's at the port supervised the transfer 
of troops from portside to trains, and 
others along the route made arrangements 
for refreshment halts. 

Supplies were moved under the same 
general system of control, with regional 
transportation officers working in close 
collaboration with British Movement 
Control. As with troop movements, the 
local RTO's were responsible for issuing 
the necessary shipping documents, notifi- 
cations of departure, and so on. 

As indicated earlier, the British rail- 
ways were desperately short of locomo- 
tives, and in 1942 arranged for the 
shipment of 400 engines (known as Bo- 
leros) from the United States. These 
2-8-0's were the equivalent of the British 
"Austerity" class engines. They had been 
designed in co-operation with the British, 

the principal consideration being simplic- 
ity of design and construction and the 
necessary ruggedness to stand up under 
combat conditions, since they were even- 
tually intended to be used on the Conti- 
nent. The first of these utility locomotives 
arrived with ceremony befitting their 
importance at Cardiff, Wales, in Novem- 
ber 1942. The program was later ex- 
tended, based on an estimate that some 
nine hundred locomotives would be 
needed on the Continent in the first six 
months of operations, and joint stock- 
piling of Boleros and British Austerities 
was begun. In 1943 the American-built 
engines began to arrive at the rate of 
about fifty per month. 95 A freight car 
building program was also undertaken. 
Large numbers of cars designed for use on 
the continental railways were shipped 
knocked down to save shipping space and 
were assembled in England, principally 
at the Hainault Railway Sheds and Sid- 
ing, excellent shops constructed just before 
the war at Chigwell, Essex, a few miles 
northeast of London. 96 

Motor transport moved little cargo 
until the fall of 1943 mainly because of the 
difficulties of operating large trucks over 
rural roads and through the often narrow 
streets of English towns. By that time the 
flow of cargo swelled to proportions which 
the railways could not handle, and motor 
transport therefore came into increasing 
use, operating under the Motor Transport 
Division of the Transportation Corps and 
under the same regional control system as 

94 History of the TC, ETO, I, 7-8, 49; Troop and 
Supply Buildup, pp. 1 11-12, 1 19-24, 201. 

95 Memo, AACofT Ping for Col K. F. Hausauer, 
8 Dec 43, sub: Locomotives and Port Battalion 
Requirements for Bolero and Roundup, SHAEF 
G-4 381 Bolero I 44. 

96 History of the TC, ETO, I, 49-51. 

U.S. -BUILT LOCOMOTIVES stockpiled in Wales, above. Locomotives, tank cars, and 
freight cars are checked at an Army railway shop before being stockpiled for use on the Continent, 



was used in co-ordinating movement by 
rail. In the final eight months of the 
build-up, from October 1943 through 
May 1944, trucks of the Transportation 
Corps carried approximately 1,100,000 
long tons (averaging 140,000 tons per 
month) or one third of all supplies cleared 
from the ports. 97 

Limitations of manpower, construction 
materials, and transportation facilities all 
influenced the type of depot system which 
the SOS was to have in the United King- 
dom. Early SOS plans contemplated the 
establishment of two types of depots: one 
to store reserves to meet invasion require- 
ments and sited with a view to outmove- 
ment to the Continent; the other to store 
maintenance supplies. This arrangement 
was soon found to be impracticable, and 
reserve and maintenance supplies were 
therefore stored in the same depots. Plans 
for base or wholesale and advance depots 
were also abandoned when it was found 
more desirable to route incoming supplies 
directly from ports to their ultimate des- 
tination. The only concession t6 the idea 
of wholesale depots for the purpose of 
segregating supplies was the expedient of 
the sorting shed, which prevented the 
clogging of ports. 

Control of the U.S. depots in the United 
Kingdom was first vested in a General 
Depot Service under the theater G-4. 
This arrangement was short-lived, how- 
ever, and in accordance with the trend to 
decentralize SOS operations the depots 
eventually came under the direct com- 
mand of the base section commanders in 
whose particular area they were located. 
Planning storage requirements naturally 
took place at a higher level. The responsi- 
bility for consolidating the needs of all the 
services belonged to the chief quarter- 
master, and the task of providing the 

necessary space was that of the chief engi- 
neer. The chief quartermaster exercised 
staff supervision over all the general 
depots — that is, depots which stored and 
issued the supplies of more than one serv- 
ice. Branch depots, which handled the 
supplies of only one service, came under 
the technical supervision of the respective 
service chiefs. 

To meet a variety of requirements, 
depot installations necessarily took a vari- 
ety of forms, ranging from the general and 
branch depots to the large vehicle parks 
and special storage facilities for such items 
as petroleum and ammunition. Suitable 
storage space was almost always at a pre- 
mium because of the lag in construction, 
the necessity of revising early estimates (a 
larger amount of covered storage was 
required because of the damp climate and 
poor packing of supplies), and the unsuit- 
ability of some of the facilities turned over 
for American use. 

In the first flush of the Bolero build-up 
in 1942 there was no time to construct 
new supply installations. The early needs 
of the U.S. forces were met by taking over 
British depots or various types of ware- 
houses. The first installations were estab- 
lished in former commercial warehouses 
in Liverpool, Bristol, and London, and in 
existing depots at Barry, Thatcham, 
Portsmouth, and Ashchurch. The acres of 
newly constructed Nissen hut storage did 
not appear until the middle of 1943. As in 
the case of the ports, much of the ware- 
housing turned over by the British was 
hard to adapt to modern storage methods. 
Materials-handling equipment was lack- 
ing, space was often poorly arranged, 
ceilings were too low, doors too narrow, 
and in many multistoried warehouses 

97 Troop and Supply Buildup, p. 204. 



elevators were either in poor working 
order or nonexistent. Fairly typical of the 
facilities taken over in the first year was 
the fourteen-story Stanley Tobacco Ware- 
house in Liverpool, which became the site 
of Depot G-14 (the G indicating a general 
depot). Its elevators were old and slow, 
access to the loading bays was restricted, 
and all traffic was funneled down Dock 
Road, which also bordered Liverpool's 
miles of quays. A picturesque feature was 
provided by the widespread use of dray 
horses, which clattered up and down the 
main thoroughfare day after day with 
their wagonloads of supplies. 

Finding enough civilian labor to aid in 
the operation of the depot was a perennial 
worry. The U.S. Army at first hired reck- 
lessly at American wage scales. British 
officials pointed out the serious conse- 
quences of such a policy and offered to 
provide workers under reciprocal aid pay- 
ments. The return to British civil service 
rates naturally caused some bad feelings. 
The eventual arrangements for unskilled 
labor, such as dock gangs and warehouse- 
men, have already been mentioned. 
Skilled workers, such as clerks and super- 
visors, were thereafter administered and 
paid by British Pay and Establishment 
Officers, although many British civilians 
at higher headquarters continued to be 
paid at American rates through the U.S. 
Army Finance Office. 98 

The problem of pilferage added to the 
irritants of G-14 in the early months and 
was a source of trouble at other depots as 
well. The Liverpool depot received large 
quantities of tempting items such as ciga- 
rettes, candy, towels, and canned food. In 
the confusion of 1942, when records were 
poor and guarding was inadequate, thefts 
of these commodities by both civilians and 
soldiers continued for several months. 

Investigations that followed the discovery 
of this situation in the fall of 1942 appar- 
ently did not solve the problem. In March 
of the following year General Somervell 
himself wrote to General Andrews, noting 
that he had had reports of losses of shock- 
ing dimensions through theft. The theater 
commander assured him that measures 
had been taken to reduce such losses to a 
minimum, and took the opportunity to 
point out that the trouble obviously was 
not all at the theater end, for investigation 
of some shipments had disclosed that 
pilferage had taken place before their 
arrival in the U.K. ports." 

G-14 at Liverpool was an example of 
the conversion of commercial facilities to 
meet the requirement for a general mili- 
tary depot. A more model installation 
could be seen in the depot turned over to 
the Americans at Ashchurch, only a few 
miles north of Cheltenham. Located in the 
heart of the Bristol Channel port area, 
and adjacent to the Birmingham-Bristol 
line of the London, Midland, and Scottish 
Railway, this installation became one of 
the key general depots of the SOS net- 
work. It had been recently built by the 
British and organized as a Royal Army 
Service Corps establishment, primarily as 
an automotive depot. In accordance with 
policies laid down in the Bolero plan, the 
transfer of the Ashchurch installation was 
a gradual process. The first SOS units 
were attached in June 1942 to receive 
motor vehicles discharged at the ports. 
British troops were gradually replaced by 
U.S. units, and a few months later the 
command of the depot passed from the 

98 Healey Memoir, pp. 30-35. 

99 Ltr, Somervell to Andrews, 23 Mar 43, and Ltr, 
Andrews to Somervell, 6 Apr 43, ETO Adm 391 
Andrews Correspondence; Healey Memoir, pp. 



British to the Americans. In August 1942 
the depot had a U.S. strength of slightly 
under 3,000 men and consisted of 158 
permanent buildings, including 10 hang- 
ar-type and 5 smaller warehouses. Despite 
the capacity and size of the installation 
many improvements and additions were 
necessary. American troops at first had to 
live in bell tents at a site near the depot 
called Camp Northway, which was devoid 
of all normal comforts. U.S. engineers set 
to work immediately to build a hutted 
camp. Another project that received high 
priority — extending the network of rail 
spurs — eventually gave the depot an 
excellent system that provided rail access 
to about one third of the buildings and 90 
percent of the open storage areas. 100 

The Ashchurch installation was a gen- 
eral depot, receiving, storing, and issuing 
equipment and supplies for five of the 
seven services — Ordnance, Quartermas- 
ter, Signal, Engineer, and Chemical War- 
fare. But its principal activities continued, 
as under British operation, to be in the 
field of ordnance supply, and all its com- 
manders were either quartermaster or 
ordnance officers. The depot's Ordnance 
Section was responsible not only for the 
receipt, storage, and issue of ordnance 
general supplies, all types of general, spe- 
cial purpose, and combat vehicles and 
artillery, but also for fourth and fifth 
echelon maintenance of ordnance equip- 
ment. The latter responsibility required 
the establishment of a base shop capable 
of completely rebuilding all types of 
engines and heavy units. To meet this need 
a regular assembly line was organized. 
The General Motors schedule for this line 
called for a daily production of 80 engines, 
40 transmissions, 40 transfer cases, 40 
rear-axle assemblies, 40 front-axle assem- 
blies, and varying capacities for about a 

dozen other minor assemblies such as 
starting motors and generators, although 
the "Little Detroit," as the base shop was 
called, for various reasons never achieved 
these outpu|: figures. Before D Day the 
shop reached its highest production rate 
in May 1944, when it turned out 854 

Tire repair was another of the Ord- 
nance Section's duties. The first tire repair 
company arrived in the United Kingdom 
in the summer of 1942. Lacking equip- 
ment and supplies, however, the unit was 
utilized for miscellaneous ordnance duties 
for many months, and could not begin the 
work for which it was trained until July 
1943. After its facilities were expanded in 
the fall, the tire repair shop achieved a 
rate of more than 3,000 retreads and 6,000 
section repairs per month. Just before D 
Day the two tire repair companies oper- 
ated on a twenty-four-hour basis. 

In 1943 the Ordnance Section at G-25 
undertook another important task — vehi- 
cle assembly. Vehicles were shipped to the 
theater either wheeled, boxed, or cased. 
Wheeled vehicles were sent directly to 
parks and depots and, after a little servic- 
ing, were issued for use. Boxed vehicles 
came packed in one crate or box and 
required only the addition of wheels and 
minor assembly and servicing before issue. 
Cased vehicles, however, came either in 
twin unit packs (TUP), two vehicles in 
from one to five boxes, or single unit packs 
(SUP), one vehicle in one or two boxes, 
and required considerably more assembly 
work. General Motors and Studebaker 
2V2-ton trucks, for example, were shipped 
in TUP's, two vehicles in four cases; 

100 The description of G-25 is based on History of 
G-25, U.S. General Depot G-25 at Ashchurch, 
England, 1 1 July 1942-6 June 1944, prep by Hist Sec 
ETO, MS, ETO Adm 512. 



JEEP ASSEMBLY LINE at an ordnance depot, September 1943. 

Diamond T cargo trucks and wreckers 
and Dodge lV2-ton trucks were packed 
two vehicles in three cases; jeeps came in 
SUP's, one per box. Arrangements had 
been made with the British in 1942 to 
have civil contractors assemble all vehicles 
shipped under Bolero program. By the 
summer of 1943, however, British plants 
had been able to achieve a rate of only 
slightly more than 4,000 assemblies per 
month, with no prospect of handling 
vehicles at the expected rate of import, 101 
and the SOS therefore proceeded to estab- 
lish its own assembly facilities. On 7 
August the theater's chief ordnance officer 
instructed Col. Clarence W. Richmond, an 
ordnance officer who had assumed com- 
mand of Depot G-25 only a few weeks 
before, to begin the assembly of vehicles 

by 16 August. The task of actually con- 
structing the assembly lines fell to Maj. 
William R. Francis, commander of the 
622d Ordnance Base Automotive Main- 
tenance Battalion, which was then operat- 
ing the base shop. Lacking units specifi- 
cally trained in assembly work, lacking 
the proper tools, and having little infor- 
mation from higher headquarters, Major 
Francis, after a look at the British Austin 
Motor Works, nevertheless went ahead 
with plans. Assisted by M. Sgt. Leroy Beil, 
a shop foreman and mechanic, and by 
Pvt. George Phillips III, a time and 
motion expert formerly with the Bethle- 
hem Steel Corporation, Major Francis 
succeeded in getting an assembly line built 

101 Min, Mtg of Bolero Transport 
Committee, 5 Aug 43, ETO Bolero File 43. 




and in operation by his own battalion by 
18 August. A second line was brought into 
operation three weeks later, employing a 
newly arrived heavy automotive main- 
tenance company. Production was at first 
confined to seven General Motors models, 
and the assembly of additional types was 
undertaken later, In December the plant 
undertook the assembly of combat vehi- 
cles, artillery, and motorcycles, as well as 
general purpose wheeled vehicles. Before 
D Day the plant assembled 8,500 vehicles 
and 5,800 miscellaneous units such as 
trailers and antiaircraft guns. Its best day 
on the truck assembly line was 26 October 
1943, when it turned out 128 General 
Motors 2 1 /2-ton trucks. 

Something of the range and complexity 
of activities at G-25 is suggested by the 
fact that Ordnance alone handled more 
than 320,000 items of supply, ranging 
from tiny jewels for wrist watches to 
10-ton wreckers. The formidable inven- 
tory and stock control problem was 
incalculably complicated in 1942 by a 
change-over to a different automotive 
parts identification scheme after the re- 
sponsibility for supply and maintenance of 
motor vehicles was transferred from the 
Quartermaster Corps to the Ordnance 
Department. Coming in the midst of the 
hurried preparations for Torch, the 
change created an almost hopeless con- 
fusion, necessitating as it did the retrain- 
ing of thousands of supply personnel and 
civilian workers. The derangement within 
the depots plagued SOS supply personnel 
well into 1943. The accounting and inven- 
torying practices of ETOUSA were a 
source of embarrassment for a long time 
and were the subject of more severe 
censure from the War Department than 
was any other shortcoming. 102 

With the acceleration of the Bolero 

build-up in the summer of 1943 G-25 
handled an increasing volume of supplies 
and stood out as one of the great general 
depots in the SOS structure. At the peak 
of its capacity the depot had 1,750,000 
square feet of covered storage space and 
more than 2,000,000 square feet of open 
storage. It had a strength of over 10,000 
men. G-25 employed a relatively small 
number of civilians — under 500 — partly 
because of the location of the depot and 
the resultant shortage of skilled workers. 
Many of those who were employed at the 
depot had to be transported by U.S. Army 
buses from Cheltenham, Tewkesbury, and 
other nearby communities. Ordnance 
activities continued to dominate the busi- 
ness of the depot, although its duties were 
diversified. On 1 June 1944, 6,500 of the 
10,000 men belonged to Ordnance units, 
of which there were a total of 43 com- 
panies organized under 8 battalions and 2 
group headquarters. From a small begin- 
ning in 1942 the warehouse handling 
equipment of the Ordnance Service alone 
grew to include 32 cranes (up to twenty 
tons capacity), 64 fork lifts, 35 prime 
movers, and 38 tractors, and the service 
also supervised a pool of conveyors, 475 
flat cars and auto trailers, and 5 narrow- 
gauge diesel locomotives. In the months 
just preceding the invasion the depot 
processed nearly 5,000 ordnance requisi- 
tions per week. 

By the end of 1943 the SOS depot sys- 
tem comprised 18 general and 46 branch 
depots, in addition to 1 1 vehicle parks and 
22 petroleum and 8 ammunition de- 
pots. 103 Vehicle parks, many of them 

102 Min of Conf, Washington, CG ASF and Chiefs 
of Supply and Adm Svcs, 7 May 43, USPET 
337 Confs. 

103 SOS ETO Installations and Operating Person- 
nel in United Kingdom, 1 Jan 44, ETO Adm 449. 



established on the grounds of large British 
estates, with their row after row of tanks, 
armored cars, and trucks, gave a particu- 
larly impressive picture of massed might. 
Most of the depots likewise gave such an 
impression. But G-25 was one of the 
largest and had by that time become 
something of a model installation. Because 
of its proximity to Cheltenham it became 
the showplace of the SOS and was regu- 
larly placed on the itinerary of visiting 
dignitaries. In characteristic army fashion, 
work frequently came to a standstill and 
many man-hours were lost while brooms 
were wielded to prepare for "inspections" 
by high-ranking visitors. 

(5) Command and Organizational 
Changes in 1943 

The problem of developing an efficient 
logistical organization with a workable 
delineation of authority between the var- 
ious staffs and command echelons con- 
tinued throughout 1943. The initial 
attempt by the SOS to take over theater- 
wide supply and administrative functions 
had resulted in an unsatisfactory compro- 
mise with ETOUSA, providing for a 
division of responsibilities between the two 
headquarters, creating overlapping agen- 
cies, and permitting considerable wasted 
effort and confusion. 104 

The crux of the problem from the start 
was the position of the special staff and the 
split of the services between London and 
Cheltenham. The first attempted clarifica- 
tion of the relationship of the two staffs, 
shortly after General Eisenhower's as- 
sumption of command, was admittedly a 
makeshift arrangement and not intended 
as permanent. It solved nothing in the 
fundamental conflict for the simple reason 

that it did not give the SOS control of all 
theater supply and administration. Partly 
because of this unsatisfactory definition of 
relationships and powers, and partly 
because the SOS was split between Chel- 
tenham and London, the hodgepodge of 
agencies, duplication of effort, and con- 
fusion continued. 

Preoccupation with the Torch prepara- 
tions prevented a remedying of this unsat- 
isfactory situation and allowed it to 
worsen. But once the North African oper- 
ation was launched General Lee and his 
staff again took up the struggle to bring 
the SOS into what they conceived to be its 
proper relationship to ETOUSA — that is, 
to secure for it control of all theater supply 
and administration. In November 1942, 
on the basis of an analysis of the existing 
organization made by the head of his 
Progress Branch, General Lee proposed a 
reorganization which would have made 
him responsible for all supply and admin- 
istrative functions in the theater and thus 
"free the Theater Commander of [these] 
details." The plan would have permitted 
the senior officers of the various services to 
continue on the theater staff, but proposed 
that they be under the direct command of 
the Commanding General, SOS, and that 
all but a few of the chief administrative 
officers, such as the adjutant general, 
inspector general, theater judge advocate, 
and provost marshal, also be stationed at 
the SOS headquarters. The theater staff 
flatly rejected Lee's proposal, asserting 
that there were certain responsibilities for 
administration, discipline, and training 
which the theater commander could not 
delegate. 105 

104 See above, Gh. I, Sec. 5, and Ch. II, Sec. 3. 

105 Organization and Command in the ETO, I, 
194-97. The entire discussion of the organization and 
command problem is based on this monograph. 



Nevertheless, the existing arrangement 
was recognized as defective and caused 
dissatisfaction in all quarters. The division 
of functions between ETOUSA and the 
SOS had its obvious disadvantages, which 
were accentuated by the physical separa- 
tion of the two headquarters between 
London and Cheltenham. As an example, 
the over-all supervision of military police 
activities was the province of the provost 
marshal at ETOUSA; but the military 
police officers in the various districts were 
appointed by and were responsible to the 
SOS provost marshal. The question of 
jurisdiction became particularly involved 
in the matter of the issuance of directives 
on the regulation of highway traffic, since 
it involved the prerogatives of base section 
commanders, the chief of transportation, 
the military police, the SOS as a whole, 
and the theater. 

There was an even more inherent 
danger in the separation of logistical plan- 
ning for future operations from normal 
SOS operations, the one being carried out 
by the theater staff and the other by the 
SOS, for under this arrangement there 
was the strong possibility of repeating the 
error made in the preparations for Torch, 
in which the SOS was largely left out of 
supply planning, although called on to 
execute logistical plans. The difficulties of 
operating under this arrangement became 
increasingly evident during the winter of 
1942-43, and the service chiefs in particu- 
lar realized the need for integrating func- 
tions and concentrating authority in one 
place. But while the need for reorganiza- 
tion was widely recognized, there was 
little agreement as to what the changes 
should be, probably because any funda- 
mental alterations inevitably involved sur- 
render of authority by one headquarters 
or another. 

At the time General Lee's proposal was 
being considered at theater headquarters 
another plan for the organization of the 
theater was offered by Col. Royal B. Lord, 
an officer who then was assigned to the 
Office of the Chief Engineer. His proposal 
had the same objective — that is, to bring 
all supply and administrative functions 
under the control of the SOS — but would 
accomplish it in a somewhat different 
manner. Colonel Lord envisaged a divi- 
sion of the theater into three subtheaters, 
one for North African operations, one for 
air operations, and a combined SOS- 
Communications Zone. The salient fea- 
ture of the scheme was the proposal that 
the theater commander's staff concentrate 
on operational planning, while the SOS- 
COMZ command take over all planning 
and operational aspects of supply and ad- 
ministration. While this plan does not ap- 
pear to have been officially presented to 
the theater headquarters, it is worth men- 
tioning at this point in view of the key 
positions in the SOS which its author was 
later to have, and in view of the fact that 
he subsequently was instrumental in 
bringing about a reorganization along the 
lines of the basic principle he advanced at 
this time. 

Throughout these months the organ- 
izational problem was complicated by the 
fact that North Africa still came within 
the boundaries of the European theater. 
With the severance of the Torch area in 
February 1943, North Africa no longer 
entered into these considerations, and the 
ETO once more resumed its independent 
development, although subordinate in im- 
portance to the more active theater of 

Within a month after General Andrews 
assumed command of the ETO General 
Lee submitted another plan for reorgan- 



ization. Basically, it had the same objec- 
tive as before, but it embodied a more 
radical change in proposing that the Com- 
manding General, SOS, be designated 
Deputy Theater Commander for Supply 
and Administration and that the theater 
G-4 be placed under him. The proposal 
thus closely resembled British practice, 
wherein the theater commander's deputy 
exercised direct control of the lines of 
communication. This arrangement, Gen- 
eral Lee asserted, would remedy one of the 
most serious defects of the existing setup, 
for it would permit the proper co-ordina- 
tion of broad operational planning with 
logistical planning and operations by pro- 
viding for "the proper presentation of the 
Air and Ground Force needs to the SOS," 
and by insuring "that the capabilities of 
the SOS are considered in the preparation 
of operational plans." 106 With the Torch 
experience in his memory, General Lee 
was obviously concerned over the role of 
the SOS in future operational and logis- 
tical planning. His latest proposal was in- 
tended to insure that future planning 
would be properly co-ordinated, in addi- 
tion to bringing all supply and adminis- 
tration under the control of the SOS. Gen- 
eral Lee's plan was a significant landmark 
in the history of command and organiza- 
tion, for it presented for the first time the 
idea of a Deputy Theater Commander for 
Supply and Administration, which was 
eventually adopted, and also pointed up 
the fundamental issue of the ETOUSA 
G-4's position vis-a-vis that of the Com- 
manding General, SOS. 

General Andrews was not unaware of 
the faults in the existing organizational 
structure and indicated a willingness to 
see some changes brought about along the 
lines of concentrating more authority for 
supply and administration in the hands of 

the SOS. But he did not accept the pro- 
posal to name General Lee Deputy Thea- 
ter Commander, nor the idea of placing 
the theater G-4 under him. General An- 
drews believed that the SOS commander 
already had sufficient authority to carry 
out his mission without being named 
Deputy Theater Commander; and he re- 
garded the proposal with regard to the 
G-4 as administratively unsound, for it 
would have placed the chief of a general 
staff division at theater level under a sub- 
ordinate headquarters and therefore in a 
very difficult position. General Andrews 
thought that it was necessary for the 
ETOUSA G-4 to guide the SOS "accord- 
ing to broad phases of theater and higher 
plans," and that the necessary co-ordina- 
tion of logistical planning with the SOS 
could be accomplished through normal 
staff channels if the SOS and the 
ETOUSA G-4 maintained close liaison. 
To achieve better co-ordination he sug- 
gested rather that the chiefs of the services 
should move back to London and spend 
at least part of their time there. 

The theater commander thus rejected 
the more radical innovations embodied in 
General Lee's proposal. But the discus- 
sions nevertheless led to certain improve- 
ments in the organizational structure. On 
2 1 March theater headquarters redefined 
the whole ETOUSA-SOS relationship. 
General Order 16, which replaced Gen- 
eral Order 19 of July 1942, reiterated the 
basic principle that the theater headquar- 
ters was the superior authority regarding 
the determination of policies, objectives, 
priorities, and the issuance of orders affect- 
ing two or more commands. Beyond this, 
it described the SOS as its instrumentality 
for administration and supply in the thea- 

106 Ltr, Lee to Andrews, 3 Mar 43, as quoted in 
Organization and Command, I, 201. 



ter. The powers and responsibilities of the 
SOS were detailed in a separate letter of 
instructions. On the vital matter of the 
position of the administrative and supply 
chiefs, the order assigned all these to the 
SOS, with the exception of the inspector 
general, adjutant general, theater judge 
advocate, provost marshal, and a few 
miscellaneous agencies. As if to leave no 
doubt regarding the extent of the SOS's 
authority over these services, the order 
placed them under General Lee for "co- 
ordination, supervision, operational con- 
trol, and direction," thus using the entire 
constellation of magical terms which were 
such favorites in the military jargon and 
subject to such frequent misinterpretation. 
The order also specified that Headquar- 
ters, SOS, and the chiefs of services were 
to be established in London, where the 
latter would be better available to the 
theater commander and his staff. In addi- 
tion, the London Base Command, until 
then under ETOUSA, was turned over to 
the SOS for administration, and became 
Central Base Section. Its commander, 
Brig. Gen. Pleas B. Rogers, was also 
named Headquarters Commandant of 

The theater's new order by no means 
fully met the desires of the SOS. Certain 
of the administrative services still re- 
mained with the theater headquarters, 
against General Lee's wishes. But the dif- 
ficult position of the technical service 
chiefs was considerably improved, for the 
system of maintaining senior representa- 
tives at theater headquarters was elimi- 
nated. Headquarters, SOS, and the chiefs 
of services now moved to London, where 
each service chief established a planning 
division, and an over-all SOS planning 
echelon was established. SOS planning 
was now carried out in London, close to 
the theater staff, while SOS operations 

continued to be handled from Chelten- 
ham. This division of function in the SOS 
became permanent, and led to the ap- 
pointment in April of Brig. Gen. William 
G. Weaver as deputy commander of the 
SOS in charge of operations. 

The reorganization of March 1943 was 
undoubtedly a step in the direction de- 
sired by General Lee, although it did not 
completely resolve the conflict between 
the theater and SOS headquarters. The 
ETOUSA staff in general disapproved the 
SOS's pretentions to power and its insist- 
ence on a large general staff. General Lee 
had asked for one major general and 
twenty-nine brigadier generals for the 
SOS staff and base sections. The request 
did not sit well with the ETOUSA staff, 
and evoked an acrid remark about the 
"high pressure salesmanship" exerted by 
the SOS to provide general grades for its 
staff positions. 107 On the other hand, the 
SOS could not see why ETOUSA should 
retain any of the administrative services, 
and desired to bring the entire special staff 
under its control. One explanation for 
ETOUSA's tenacity in retaining certain 
purely administrative functions for itself 
was the fact that the theater's functions 
were still limited mainly to administration 
and supply. The ETO was not yet really a 
theater of Operations" in the sense that it 
was conducting combat operations (except 
for limited air operations), for the North 
African invasion was directed by an Allied 
organization; it was rather in a sense 
merely an extension of the zone of interior. 
In this relatively static situation there was 
consequently a tendency on the part of the 
ETOUSA staff to want control over ad- 
ministration and supply, the principal 
matters that concerned the theater at the 
time. Even planning for a cross-Channel 

Organization and Command, I, 212. 



operation was still in an academic stage 
because of the remote prospects of actually 
carrying out a major invasion of the 

The March reorganization also left un- 
settled the whole matter of the relation- 
ship of the SOS to the ETOUSA G-4. In 
General Lee's view, the theater G-4 
duplicated functions which were rightfully 
the province of the SOS. General An- 
drews, however, held that logistical plan- 
ning must be carried out at the same level 
as operational planning, and that a G-4 
on his own staff was vitally necessary to 
co-ordinate all matters relative to admin- 
istrative support for future operations. 
The result was that, in planning, the serv- 
ice chiefs were in effect under the direction 
of the theater G-4, and the SOS, although 
now controlling most of the special staff 
positions, was left with something less 
than the complete control of all aspects of 
supply and administration which it had 
sought. That the possibility for conflict 
was contained in this arrangement was 
immediately foreseen, for the G-4 would 
have to maintain the closest possible con- 
tact with the service chiefs of the SOS. To 
guard against any infringement of the 
authority of the Commanding General, 
SOS, ETOUSA therefore issued a memo- 
randum cautioning its staff to observe the 
proper channels of communication and 
not to short-circuit the SOS commander 
in communicating with the chiefs of serv- 
ices. In the relationship between the thea- 
ter general staff divisions and the SOS 
service chiefs the old problem of maintain- 
ing the distinction between "command" 
and "technical" matters thus took another 
form, with each headquarters guarding its 
own prerogatives. 

The reorganization effected under Gen- 
eral Order 16 was short-lived. To General 
Lee the position of the theater G-4 outside 

the SOS was an anomalous one and made 
impossible the accomplishment of his 
goal — complete integration of all supply 
and administration in the theater. What 
General Lee apparently desired was an 
organizational setup similar to that in the 
zone of interior, where General Somer- 
vell's ASF had also gained wide authority 
over matters of procurement, supply, and 
administration, and had all but absorbed 
the War Department G-4's functions. Ef- 
forts to secure a more acceptable organi- 
zation therefore continued, and with the 
assumption of the theater command by 
General Devers in May General Lee 
made another attempt. This time he was 
more successful, for General Devers was 
more receptive to General Lee's proposals. 
On 27 May a new general order (33) was 
issued redefining the relationship between 
the SOS and ETOUSA. It resolved the 
problem of the theater G-4 by abolishing 
the position, the duties of the G-4 being 
assumed by the Commanding General, 
SOS. In addition, the SOS acquired con- 
trol of still more of the administrative 
services, chiefly the Claims Commission, 
the newly created Area Petroleum Serv- 
ice, and the offices of the theater judge 
advocate and the provost marshal. 

These changes strengthened the SOS 
immeasurably, combining the planning 
and operational functions of supply for the 
first time in one agency. They gave Gen- 
eral Lee great satisfaction, and he later 
wrote that "this was the first constructive 
move towards the elimination of the sep- 
arate theater staff and vested in the SOS 
complete supply responsibility for the 
theater." 108 

To accommodate itself to its enlarged 
functions the SOS now also underwent an 

108 Memo, Lee for Col S. L. A. Marshall Theater 
Historian, 15 Oct 45, as cited in Organization and 
Command, I, 215. 



internal reorganization. The old general 
staff divisions were eliminated and the 
activities of the SOS were organized along 
functional lines. In place of the SOS G-4 
a Chief of Services was now named, taking 
over all supply services in both their plan- 
ning and operational aspects, and in place 
of the G-l a Chief of Administration was 
designated to do the same with regard to 
the administrative services. A new Train- 
ing and Security Division replaced the 
G-2 and G-3. The Chief of Administra- 
tion, Col. Edgar B. Fell, had charge of all 
the administrative services now operating 
under the SOS, including the Claims 
Commission and the services of the judge 
advocate, army exchange officer, chief 
finance officer, special services officer, 
provost marshal, and chief chaplain. 
Colonel Lord became the Chief of Serv- 
ices, and took under his supervision all the 
supply services, plus the General Purchas- 
ing Agent and the Deputy Area Petro- 
leum Officer. His office was the most 
important under the new arrangement, 
and was organized into three echelons to 
provide over-all supervision and co-ordi- 
nation of supply planning and opera- 
tions — one at Norfolk House, for planning 
with Allied planning agencies; one at 
Cheltenham for the supervision of supply 
operations; and one at SOS headquarters 
in London to exercise general over-all 
supervision. General Weaver, who had be- 
come General Lee's chief of staff, contin- 
ued as deputy commander. 

Within two months the SOS carried out 
still more internal changes. Certain incon- 
sistencies already existed in the SOS per- 
sonnel assignments as a result of the May 
reorganization. Colonels Fell and Lord 
were both junior to many of the officers 
serving under them, and Colonel Lord 
was for various reasons not acceptable 

to at least part of the staff, 109 although 
he had the complete confidence of the 
SOS commander. In view of the intensi- 
fied preparations which would now cer- 
tainly attend the revival of Bolero and 
COSSAC's planning for cross-Channel at- 
tack, both General Styer, the ASF chief 
of staff who was in England in June, and 
General Devers recommended that an- 
other officer be brought to the ETO for a 
key role in the SOS. In accordance with 
their recommendations Maj. Gen. Robert 
W. Crawford, a senior officer destined to 
hold a high staff position in the Supreme 
Allied Headquarters, was ordered to Eng- 
land from the Middle East, where he had 
been in charge of supply activities. On 24 
July he was appointed deputy commander 
of the SOS and Chief of Services, replac- 
ing both General Weaver and Colonel 
Lord in those positions. 

Colonel Lord temporarily assumed the 
job of Deputy Chief of Services for Plan- 
ning, and General Weaver retained only 
the position of chief of staff to General 
Lee. Once General Crawford had oriented 
himself on SOS operations, however, he 
established his office in London and con- 
centrated his efforts on logistical planning, 
becoming chief of staff to Lee as well as 
deputy commander. General Weaver con- 
tinued in charge of operations at Chelten- 
ham and was now officially designated 
Field Deputy Commander. In the final 
shakedown of SOS staff assignments Colo- 
nel Lord ended up as Chief of Operations, 
a new name for the Chief of Services, in 
which position he was responsible for staff 
co-ordination of operations, while General 
Weaver, as Field Deputy Commander, 
exercised actual supervision over field op- 
erations, making inspections and co-ordi- 

109 Ltr, Styer to Somervell, early Jun 43, ASF, 
Somervell Files, GofS 42-43 (6). 



GENERAL CRAWFORD receiving the 
Distinguished Service Medal from General 

nating the activities of the base sections. 
Finally, Colonel Fell was replaced by Col. 
Earl S. Gruver, whom General Crawford 
had brought with him from the Middle 
East, and the office of the Chief of Admin- 
istration was moved to London. The entire 
reorganization was formalized in a series 
of SOS general orders a ppearing b etween 
19 and 25 August 1943 A(Chart4)\ 

The chief effect of all this shuffling of 
assignments and titles was that General 
Crawford assumed the planning respon- 
sibility, thus taking over the function 
formerly held by the theater G-4, but now 
carried out within the SOS. With the CCS 
approval of the Overlord plan at Que- 
bec in August, this aspect of SOS activities 
gained increasing importance, and the 
work of all echelons was intensified in the 
late summer and fall of 1943 with the 

greatly accelerated flow of American 
troops and supplies to the United King- 
dom. As a result of the stepped-up tempo 
of planning for the cross-Channel opera- 
tion there was a tendency to bring more 
and more of the SOS organization to Lon- 
don. Despite the division of SOS activities 
between two headquarters the system ap- 
pears to have worked fairly well, and 
periodic staff conferences were held at 
both Cheltenham, attended by the base 
section commanders, and London. At one 
of these conferences, on 23 August, Gen- 
eral Lee expressed considerable satisfac- 
tion with the new system. "For the first 
time," he stated, "an American Army 
has . . . what we regard as sound organ- 
ization, bringing together the G-4 and 
SOS functions." 110 

Even this arrangement did not last. 
Early in October the chief innovation of 
the August reorganization was temporar- 
ily canceled when the position of G-4 at 
the theater level was restored and supply 
planning was shifted back from the SOS 
to ETOUSA. Partly because of a person- 
ality clash General Crawford left the SOS, 
having served less than two months as 
deputy and chief of staff to General Lee, 
and moved up to occupy the G-4 position 
on the theater commander's staff. While 
the channels of control were changed, 
however, the system seems to have func- 
tioned much as before. Moreover, the re- 
transfer of the planning function was only 
temporary. In December General Craw- 
ford moved to COSSAC, which even- 
tually was transformed into Supreme 
Headquarters, and with this change in as- 
signment General Lee once more took 
over the duties of theater G-4. Several 
other changes in assignment were also 

110 Stf Conf Notes, SOS, 23 Aug 43, as cited in 
Organization and Command, I, 223. 


made within Headquarters, SOS, the 
chief one being the appointment of Colo- 
nel Lord as chief of staff and deputy com- 
mander of the SOS. Colonel Lord thus 
became General Lee's right-hand man 
and an influential voice in all future 
activities of the SOS. 

While the changes brought about in 
May and August 1943 undoubtedly repre- 
sented an improvement in theater organ- 
ization it was partially illusory. The modi- 
fications of August had never completely 
stopped the duplication of function or 
conflict over administrative matters be- 
tween the SOS and ETOUSA, and rela- 
tions between the two headquarters 
continued to be afflicted with trouble. 
Earlier in the year General Lee had been 
empowered to issue orders within the 
scope of his authority, using the familiar 
authentication "by order of the Theater 
Commander." In July the Eighth Air 
Force challenged this practice when the 
SOS published a circular charging the 
base section commanders with responsi- 
bility for control of all troops outside ports 
and camps and authorizing them to detail 
men from ground and air force commands 
to temporary military police duty. The 
Eighth Air Force contended that this was 
an infringement on its authority and 
raised the old issue of the right of a co- 
ordinate command to issue such orders. 
General Devers upheld the air force in this 
test of strength, asserting that com- 
manders had no authority to issue orders 
in his name outside their own commands. 
The authority of the SOS to issue such 
orders was accordingly revoked, and the 
SOS's instructions were amended forbid- 
ding it to "infringe upon the command 
responsibilities of other major com- 
manders." Henceforth, when the SOS 
found it necessary to issue instructions to 


GENERAL LORD, Chief of Staff, SOS. 
(Photograph taken in 1944.) 

co-ordinate commands (the Eighth Air 
Force and V Corps) which affected their 
command responsibilities, it was to submit 
these instructions to ETOUSA for ap- 
proval and issuance. In accordance with 
this new procedure the circular which had 
offended the Eighth Air Force was there- 
fore submitted to ETOUSA and repub- 
lished word for word over the name of the 
theater commander. 

This affair demonstrated clearly that 
the SOS did not yet have the full author- 
ity which it thought it had acquired, and 
forcibly pointed up the vexing difficulties 
attending the attempt by a subordinate 
command to assume theater-wide supply 
and administrative functions. The SOS 
was obviously displeased with this curtail- 
ment of its authority and did not accept it 
without protest. Its thinking was reflected 
in a study of the whole SOS position writ- 



ten by Col. Charles R. Landon, General 
Lee's adjutant general. Colonel Landon 
asserted that it was necessary that the SOS 
continue to issue instructions in its own 
name to the entire theater if it was not to 
be reduced to the position of a minor staff 
section of a huge G-4 office. He admitted 
the necessity of avoiding delicate matters 
which other commands might consider an 
infringement of their rights, but it would 
be intolerable to have the service chiefs, 
for example, in their theater capacity pass 
on recommendations from the office of 
their own superior, the Commanding 
General, SOS. Colonel Landon therefore 
recommended that the SOS continue to 
issue instructions within its province to the 
entire theater in the name of the Com- 
manding General, SOS. This procedure 
was adopted, but it resulted only in an in- 
crease in the number of matters which 
had to be submitted to the theater staff for 
review, and therefore increased the dupli- 
cation of effort in the two headquarters. 111 
The attempt to bring the supply and 
administrative activities of the entire thea- 
ter under the control of one headquarters 
thus remained a dilemma which seemed 
to defy solution. In the fall of 1943 the 
preparations for Overlord, including the 
creation of a new Allied command, cast a 
new light on the entire problem of SOS- 
ETOUSA relations. The subsequent 
changes in the theater's command and or- 
ganization were closely tied up with these 
developments, and the account of these 
changes is best postponed to a considera- 
tion of their relationship to the command 
developments on an Allied level. 

In the course of the difficulties over its 
relationship with ETOUSA the SOS also 
made certain adjustments in connection 
with two other aspects of organization and 

command. One pertained to the develop- 
ment of its territorial organization, the 
base sections, and the other concerned its 
supply and administrative responsibilities 
to the Air Forces. 

It will be recalled that in the original 
organization of the regional command sys- 
tem in the summer of 1942 the base sec- 
tion commanders had been granted fairly 
broad powers, although certain activities, 
such as transportation and the operation 
of the ports, had been exempted from their 
control. In general, the base section com- 
manders possessed complete authority 
over activities confined to their own com- 
mand; but were restricted in matters 
which were "interstate" or theater-wide in 
nature. The chiefs of services therefore 
possessed certain powers in addition to the 
"technical supervision" which they nor- 
mally exercised in matters affecting their 
particular service, and supervised these 
activities through representatives who 
were members of the base section com- 
manders' staffs. 

This entire arrangement came up for 
review in October 1942, only two months 
after it had been established. The source 
of greatest dissatisfaction was the extent of 
the exempted activities. Base section com- 
manders complained that the chiefs of 
services had encroached on their author- 
ity, especially with regard to the control 
of service troops. The whole problem was 
discussed at an SOS staff and command 
conference on 24 October, at which Gen- 
eral Collins of the Northern Ireland Base 
Section was outspoken in his criticism of 
the system, asserting that the service chiefs 
had abused their powers and that it would 
have been impossible to operate in North- 
ern Ireland if existing regulatibns had 
been carried out. Despite these complaints 

111 Organization and Command, I, 227-231 A. 



no basic change was made in the original 
division of responsibilities and authority 
at that time. 

The solution of this basic conflict be- 
tween functional and regional control was 
by no means clear, and the vague delinea- 
tion of authority of the base section com- 
manders and chiefs of services persisted for 
a long time. Colonel Weaver, then chief of 
staff* to Lee, thought the difficulties could 
best be resolved by better co-operation be- 
tween the two. He emphasized the obliga- 
tion of the service chiefs to keep the base 
section commanders informed of their 
activities. He thought that the base section 
commanders would seldom find fault with 
anything the service chiefs tried to do on 
technical matters, but the base section 
commanders naturally resented being by- 
passed or kept in the dark about those 
activities. He therefore urged that the 
chiefs of services, so far as possible, issue 
their directives on technical matters 
through their representatives in the base 
sections; and a new SOS circular on 31 
October admonished the service chiefs to 
keep the base section commanders "con- 
tinually informed," 112 General Lee was a 
firm believer in the base section system 
and was desirous that it be made to work. 
Relations between the base section com- 
manders and the service chiefs did in fact 
improve after this, although the exempted 
activities and "interference" by the service 
chiefs were a continued source of 

The year 1943 brought certain changes 
in both the territorial structure of the SOS 
and in the division of authority. Four base 
sections had been activated in the summer 
of 1942 — Western, Southern, Eastern, and 
Northern Ireland. In 1943 the number 
was first reduced to three and then in- 
creased tc five, the situation in Northern 

Ireland accounting for most of the 
changes. After the Torch operation, 
Northern Ireland became primarily an 
air force base, and most of the activities 
there were handled by the new VIII Air 
Force Composite Command. When V 
Corps moved to England, SOS activities 
in Northern Ireland were even further re- 
duced, and in December 1942 Northern 
Ireland Base Section was therefore inac- 
tivited and the area was incorporated into 
Western Base Section as a district. The 
number of base sections in the United 
Kingdom was thus reduced to three. In the 
fall of 1943 Northern Ireland again be- 
came important as a troop concentration 
area as American units began to flow to 
the United Kingdom in large numbers. 
Northern Ireland Base Section was there- 
fore re-created on 2 October 1943, and 
General Collins returned from Western 
Base Section to assume command. In the 
meantime another base section had been 
added when the London Base Command 
was turned over to the SOS in March 
1943, as already mentioned. It was offi- 
cially designated the Central Base Section 
on 29 April. With this addition and the 
re-creation of Northern Ireland Base Sec- 
tion the SOS therefore consisted of five 
base sections at the end of 1943 : Southern 
Base Section (Colonel Thrasher); Western 
Base Section (Col. Harry B. Vaughan); 
Eastern Base Section (Col. Ewart G. 
Plank); Northern Ireland Base Section 
(General Collins); and London Bas e Sec- 
tion (General Rogers). ^ Map2.)l 13 

112 StfConf Notes, SOS ETO, 24 Oct and 16 Nov 
42, and Gir 41, SOS, 31 Oct 42, as cited in Organ- 
ization and Command, I, 1 19-21. 

113 Organization and Command, I, 231A-36, 
238-39. The only boundary change occurred on 8 
July 1943, when the Bristol Channel port area was 
established as a separate district and transferred from 
Southern Base Section to Western Base Section. 



Important developments took place in 
1943 toward the solution of the problem 
of the division of powers between the base 
section commanders and the chiefs of 
services. In the first six or eight months of 
operations there had been an increase in 
the number of exempted activities, which 
continued to be a thorn in the side of the 
base section commanders. Beginning in 
the spring of 1943 this trend was reversed. 
At the end of May the internal manage- 
ment of exempted activities was given to 
the base section commanders, and the 
service chiefs were left with only the nor- 
mal technical controls. Three months 
later the system of exempted activities was 
officially ended, and the base section com- 
manders were charged with responsibility 
for "all SOS operations" in their sec- 
tions. 114 This development had the effect 
of removing the control of the service 
chiefs over their representatives on the 
base section staffs, since these officers had. 
been responsible to the chiefs of services 
for exempted activities. Base section com- 
manders were also given a more complete 
control of personnel assignments. 

The result of these changes was to en- 
hance considerably the powers of the base 
section commanders at the expense of the 
service chiefs. Base section commanders 
now possessed virtually complete control 
over personnel and depot operations. 
Each base section was a miniature SOS 
duplicating the organization at SOS head- 
quarters, and the operating instrumental- 
ity of the SOS. Its functions included 
issuing supplies to all troops in the base 
section, providing complete hospitaliza- 
tion, policing the entire base section area, 
handling train and road movements in 
co-operation with British agencies, pro- 
viding entertainment and recreational 
facilities, constructing the necessary ac- 

commodations, acquiring quarters, and 
receiving supplies and American troops 
through the ports. In the pyramidal struc- 
ture of the SOS the base sections now 
operated substantially according to the 
principle which General Lee had enun- 
ciated — "centralized control and decen- 
tralized operation." The chiefs of services 
retained technical control of their services 
in the base sections, exercising this 
through their representatives on the sec- 
tion staffs. Since technical control was 
always subject to conflicting interpreta- 
tion, however, service chiefs and base sec- 
tion commanders continued to complain 
about interference and infringements of 
authority. Thus, a fundamental conflict 
remained, and the comments which Gen- 
eral Weaver — then a colonel — had made 
in October 1942 still applied. Co-opera- 
tion between the base section commanders 
and the service chiefs was still the key to 
successful operations. 115 

The problem of the division of function 
within the structure of the SOS was in 
many ways duplicated in the SOS's rela- 
tions with the Air Forces. The Air Forces 
from the very beginning of the theater's 
organization insisted that its supplies, be- 
cause of their peculiar nature, receive spe- 
cial handling. An agreement had been 
reached in the summer of 1942 by which 
supplies and equipment common to all 
the services should be provided by the 
SOS. Supplies peculiar to the AAF, how- 
ever, were to be handled by its own service 
organization, the VIII Air Force Service 
Command, and were to be requisitioned 
directly from the United States. Beyond 
this the Air Forces had also hoped to 
secure control over construction of all air- 

,M Gir 36, SOS, 30 May 43, and Gir 49, SOS, 24 
Aug 43, Organization and Command, I, 240. 
115 Organization and Command, I, 240-46. 



dromes, over local procurement of air 
force supplies, and over the handling of 
air force supplies at ports of debarkation. 
Against its wishes the responsibility for the 
construction of airdromes was assigned to 
the SOS, and the control of aviation en- 
gineer construction battalions also re- 
mained with the SOS. Local procurement 
was to be handled in the same way as for 
the other services, that is, Air Force re- 
quests would be cleared through the Gen- 
eral Purchasing Agent. As far as discharge 
at the ports was concerned, the original 
agreement provided that the SOS control 
all port facilities, although AAF liaison 
officers were to supervise the handling of 
air force supplies. This proved unsatisfac- 
tory to the Air Forces, which claimed that 
the SOS was too slow in dispatching 
cargo, and the Air Forces soon established 
intransit depots at the ports to assure 
proper and expeditious handling of its 

Actually, the Air Service Command 
wanted to establish its own independent 
supply pipeline all the way back to the 
zone of interior, and continued to fight to- 
ward this goal. Throughout 1943 the Air 
Forces urged increased control over its 

own supplies, charging the SOS with de- 
lays and with requiring too many justifi- 
cations for Air Force requisitions. Early in 
1944 an Air Service Command board, 
after studying the entire supply system, 
proposed that certain common supply 
items be furnished the Air Forces in bulk 
without detailed justification. This idea 
was rejected. But the SOS agreed that the 
existing system had faults and made cer- 
tain concessions in the requisitioning 
procedure. These changes still did not 
meet the Air Forces' objections, and early 
in February the Air Force Service Com- 
mand again asked that certain supplies be 
earmarked for the AAF before shipment 
from the United States. This would have 
established an independent supply line to 
the zone of interior for the Air Forces and 
was consistently opposed by the theater. 
Except for the earlier concessions, there- 
fore, the supply procedure remained as 
before, to the dissatisfaction of the Air 
Forces. As in the controversy between the 
base section commanders and service 
chiefs, successful accomplishment called 
for a large measure of mutual understand- 
ing and co-operation. 116 
116 Ibid., I, 250-53. 



The Inception of Overlord 
and Its Logistic Aspects 

(J) Early Planning for Cross-Channel 

The plan by which Allied forces suc- 
cessfully launched a cross-Channel inva- 
sion and captured a lodgment on the 
European Continent eventually bore the 
name Overlord. 1 Planning for a return 
to the Continent was begun by the British 
shortly after their withdrawal from France 
in 1940. But the scope of such planning as 
could be undertaken in the next year or 
two was severely restricted by the meager 
resources available, and could hardly go 
beyond such limited-objective schemes as 
large-scale raids aimed at aiding the 
USSR by diverting enemy forces from 
eastern Europe, or plans for a rapid move- 
ment to the Continent to take advantage 
of the enemy's collapse. Plans for a return 
to the Continent in force had little prac- 
ticality until the United States entered the 
war, and even then were long in coming 
to fruition. 

The first major impetus to cross-Chan- 
nel planning after U.S. entry into the war 
came with the approval of the Marshall 
Memorandum in London in April 1942. 2 
Commanders of the ground, air, and 
naval services of both the British and U.S. 
forces in the United Kingdom started 
holding formal conferences on invasion 

plans the following month and set up both 
operational and administrative planning 
staffs to begin the study of tactical and 
logistic problems involved in a cross- 
Channel operation. As already indicated, 
the plan for a full-scale cross-Channel in- 
vasion was at first referred to as Roundup, 
the name which the British had already 
used to designate earlier plans for a con- 
tinental operation. As envisaged in 1942, 
Roundup called for landings on a wide 
front between Boulogne and Le Havre in 
the following spring. 

Roundup planning had hardly been 
initiated when the decision was made to 
invade North Africa, and as the prepara- 
tions for the North African landings pro- 
gressed that summer it became obvious 
that offensive operations in northwest 
Europe in 1942 were out of the question, 
since all available forces and equipment 
were committed to Torch. In fact, the 
Roundup planners foresaw little possibil- 
ity of a major operation against the Con- 
tinent even in 1943, and outlined their 
proposed planning with only limited ob- 

1 The code name Overlord eventually came to 
apply only to the general concept of a cross-Channel 
invasion in 1944. For security reasons an additional 
code name, Neptune, was adopted early in 1944 to 
refer to the specific operation, and involved a special 
security procedure known as Bigot, 

2 See above, Gh. II, Sec, 1. 



jectives in mind for that year — raids to 
provoke air battles, capture of a lodgment 
or a beachhead preliminary to possible ex- 
ploiting operations (in the Cotentin, for 
example), and a return to the Continent 
to take advantage of German disintegra- 
tion. It was important, nevertheless, that 
planning continue for large-scale opera- 
tions against the Continent in 1944. 

For this purpose the Roundup plan con- 
tinued to be used as a basis for administra- 
tive planning, since it was realized that 
the logistic preparations for such an oper- 
ation would be tremendous, and would 
have to be developed far in advance of the 
detailed operational planning. 3 The 
Roundup planning staffs were to a large 
extent sponsored and guided by the Brit- 
ish, although their numerous subcommit- 
tees contained both American and British 
representatives. They had no permanently 
assigned staff with the exception of a 
secretariat. The various committees met 
as the need arose and published their 
plans and proceedings in a series of re- 
ports. On the national level, planning in 
ETOUSA headquarters was initially the 
responsibility of the G-3. The special staff 
sections of theater headquarters in Lon- 
don at first did nearly all of the logistical 
planning for invasion. The SOS was little 
concerned with this planning in 1942, for 
it was not originally assigned such respon- 
sibilities by higher headquarters. More- 
over, it lacked a strong agency on the 
general staff level to guide over-all plan- 
ning, and its planning activities were 
limited by the preoccupation with current 
service of supply operations in the United 
Kingdom, and by a shortage of planning 
personnel. Among the unfortunate cir- 
cumstances was the persistent lack of an 
official troop forecast, always considered 
essential to proper planning. 4 Neverthe- 

less, the Roundup staffs continued plan- 
ning for operations in northwest Europe 
throughout the fall and winter of 1942, al- 
though mainly with limited objectives in 
mind. They accomplished a great amount 
of spadework and assembled invaluable 
information relating to a cross-Channel 

At the Casablanca Conference in Jan- 
uary 1943 the Combined Chiefs of Staff 
were occupied in the European area pri- 
marily with operations in the Mediterra- 
nean in 1943. 5 Because of the demands of 
Torch, plans for an all-out cross-Channel 
operation remained outside the scope of 
practicality for 1943. Allied fortunes had 
taken a decided turn for the better, how- 
ever, and the Combined Chiefs at that 
time made a decision which proved tre- 
mendously reassuring to the future pros- 
pects for cross-Channel invasion. They 
agreed that a combined staff of British 
and American officers should be organ- 
ized, preferably under a Supreme Com- 
mander, but if such an appointment was 
not immediately feasible, under a chief of 
staff, in order to give the necessary im- 
petus and cohesion to planning for future 
operations. The mission of this staff was to 
include planning for "an invasion in force 
in 1944." 6 

The reference to planning for large- 
scale operations on the Continent in 1944 
occupied little space in the minutes of the 
Casablanca meetings. But the decision to 

3 Combined Commanders Papers (42) 82, 3 Oct 42 ; 
Annex 1, OPD. 

4 Organization and Functions of the Communica- 
tions Zone, Gen Bd Rpt 127, p. 3, OCMH. 

5 CCS 170/2, 23 Jan 43, Rpt by CCS to President 
and Prime Minister, Symbol Conf, SHAEF SGS, 
Symbol Conf 337/5. 

6 Ibid. \ CCS 169, Proposed Organization of Com- 
mand, Control, Planning, etc., 22 Jan 43; CCS Min, 
67th Mtg, 22 Jan 43. 



create a planning organization was imple- 
mented within the next few months. Late 
in April 1943 the British Chiefs of Staff is- 
sued the directive establishing the com- 
bined staff under General Morgan with 
the title Chief of Staff to the Supreme Al- 
lied Commander (Designate). An Amer- 
ican, Brig. Gen. Ray W. Barker, was 
appointed as his deputy. The staff which 
General Morgan gathered around him 
came to be known as COSSAC, from the 
abbreviation of his title. 

The acceleration of planning which 
now took place at the Allied level was also 
reflected on the national level. The SOS 
established a planning echelon in London 
to maintain close contact with higher 
headquarters, and the chiefs of the prin- 
cipal technical services thenceforth di- 
vided their time between London and 
Cheltenham. Planning was at this time 
transferred from the G-3 Section, 
ETOUSA, to a newly organized G-5 
Plans Section, headed by General Barker. 
This new general staff section was charged 
with the co-ordination of all U.S. plan- 
ning, both operational and administrative. 
Its main preoccupation, however, was 
planning at the Allied level, and the G-5 
Section was for all practical purposes the 
U.S. component of COSSAC. 7 

COSSAC was assigned several missions. 
It was to evolve deception plans to keep 
alive the expectation that an attack was 
imminent in 1943 and thus pin down Ger- 
man forces in the west; it was to plan for 
a return to the Continent in the event of 
German disintegration. But its principal 
mission proved to be the creation of a plan 
for "a full scale assault against the Con- 
tinent in 1944." 8 

First of all, the COSSAC planners had 
to determine precisely what resources the 
Allies would have available in the United 

Kingdom for operations against the Con- 
tinent. To get such figures the COSSAC 
staff presented estimates of the needs for 
an invasion at the Washington (Trident) 
Conference in May. The proper size of the 
assault force was a much-discussed subject 
and one on which no final conclusions 
could be reached at that time. Allied re- 
sources at the moment, and even the re- 
sources estimated to be available at a later 
date, were appallingly meager for the type 
of operation envisaged. The Combined 
Chiefs of Staff nevertheless gave tentative 
approval to the idea of an invasion in 
northwest France in 1944 and provided 
the planners with the first estimates to 
work with in formulating a more detailed 
plan. Uncertainty as to the availability of 
landing craft was already casting its 
shadow over all operational planning. 9 

Late in June a five-day conference 
(known as Rattle) was held in Scotland 
to consider the many problems of cross- 
Channel invasion. It was presided over by 
Vice Admiral Lord Louis Mountbatten, 
Chief of Combined Operations (British), 
and attended by COSSAC members and 
the commanders of the principal Allied 
forces in the United Kingdom. Detailed 
discussions were held on such subjects as 
suitable assault areas, weapons, tactics, 
and enemy defenses. General Morgan had 
already drawn up an outline plan for 
cross-Channel invasion and presented it 
to the 21 Army Group commander, the 
Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (Desig- 
nate) of the Allied Expeditionary Air 
Force, the Naval C-in-C (Designate), and 
the Commanding General, ETOUSA, for 

7 Organization and Functions of the Communica- 
tions Zone, p. 3; Logistical Buildup in the British Isles, 
Gen Bd Rpt 128, pp. 11-13, OGMH. 

8 COSSAC (43) Min of Stf Conf, 1st Mtg, Annex 
II, 17 Apr 43, SHAEF SGS. 

s COSSAC Papers (43) 13, 28 May 43. 



their consideration. 10 In July COSSAC 
prepared a digest of its plan, which re- 
ceived the approval of the British Chiefs 
of Staff. In the following month it was pre- 
sented to President Roosevelt and Prime 
Minister Churchill and the Combined 
Chiefs of Staff at the Quebec (Quadrant) 
Conference. There the Overlord plan 
was definitely accepted as the principal 
U.S. -British effort against Germany in 
1944. In some respects the outline plan or 
digest presented at Quebec was more 
properly a staff study and was so regarded 
by the planners. Not until after the Cairo 
(Sextant) Conference in November-De- 
cember 1943 did General Morgan feel 
confident enough about the future of the 
operation to emphasize to his staff that 
there was now at last a firm determination 
that the operation would take place at the 
agreed date. Overlord and Anvil (the 
supporting operation to be launched in 
southern France) were to be the supreme 
operations for 1944. "Nothing," it was 
emphasized, "must be undertaken in any 
other part of the world which hazards the 
success of these two operations. . . 11 
While the detailed planning still remained 
to be done, and while there still were 
many unanswered questions, particularly 
regarding the scale of the assault and the 
availability of the means, the plan that 
COSSAC presented at Quebec in August 
1943, refined and amended in the next 
nine months, was the plan finally executed 
as Operation Overlord in June 1944. 

(2) Logistic Considerations in the Evolution of 
the OVERLORD Plan 

The continental operations of 1944-45 
have frequently been referred to as a bat- 
tle of logistics — a contest between the 
industrial capacities of the Allies and the 

war-organized economy of Nazi-domi- 
nated Europe. The purpose of the cross- 
Channel operation itself suggested the 
vital role which logistics was to have in the 
course of the battle: the object of Over- 
lord, in the words of the plan itself, was to 
"secure a lodgment on the Continent from 
which further offensive operations can be 

The objective of the Overlord opera- 
tion was not to bring about the defeat of 
the enemy in northwest Europe, but to 
seize and develop an administrative base 
from which future offensive operations 
could be launched. The Overlord plan 
did not even contemplate a decisive battle 
west of the Seine. Its objective was a lim- 
ited one, therefore, determined by the es- 
sential logistic consideration that the 
Allies would require an administrative 
base with all the facilities, such as ports, 
depots, and transportation, necessary for 
the build-up and support of forces on the 
scale required for subsequent offensive 

For U.S. forces the preparation for such 
an operation entailed, first, transferring a 
huge force and its equipment to the British 
Isles across a submarine-infested sea route, 
and, second, funneling this force, against 
determined enemy opposition, into a nar- 
row beachhead on the Continent, and 
adequately maintaining it. By the summer 
of 1943 the first of these tasks was finally 
well under way. 

Once the decision was firm that an all- 
out invasion of the Continent should be 
made, two problems of overriding im- 
portance faced the planners: (1) determin- 
ing the scale of the initial assult; (2) pro- 

10 COSSAC (43) 9th Rpt, 16 Jun 43. 

11 COSSAC (43) Min of Stf Confs, 38th Mtg, 17 
Dec 43; COSSAC Papers (43) 88, Decisions at 
Sextant Conf, 9 Dec 43. 



viding an adequate build-up and mainte- 
nance. That these fundamental logistic 
considerations weighed heavily is evi- 
denced in the earliest discussions. The 
second problem — that of an adequate 
build-up and maintenance — soon resolved 
itself into the problem of choosing an as- 
sault area. The Roundup planners had 
emphasized from the start that the first 
phase of operations would be devoted to 
securing a lodgment area, the essential 
feature of which had to be sufficient dis- 
charge capacity — that is, facilities for the 
reception of personnel, vehicles, and sup- 
plies. The primary need, therefore, was 
port facilities. Indeed, one of the first esti- 
mates and drafts of the Overlord plan 
prepared by the Principal Staff Officers of 
COSSAC in June 1943 gave as the mission 
of the operation the securing of a lodgment 
on the northwest coast of France "in order 
to gain sufficient deepwater ports to ac- 
commodate the landing of large forces 
from the U.S." 12 This estimate was 
strengthened by the conviction that Ger- 
man defense policy was based on holding 
the coast line and, above all, the major 
ports, at all costs. The enemy appreciated 
that, if all major ports could be denied to 
the Allies, the already difficult task of 
building up and maintaining forces able 
to defeat armies backed by an excellent 
road and rail system would become im- 
possible. 13 In any assault on the Continent 
it was essential that the Allied rate of 
build-up should match or exceed the rate 
at which the enemy could bring up re- 

Selection of an assault area had been the 
main planning consideration all through 
the winter of 1942-43, and port capacities 
were almost invariably the starting point 
for the discussion of any area. For purposes 
of study the planners normally divided the 

coast of northwest Europe into "port 
group" areas. The designation and bound- 
aries of these groups varied somewhat, but 
in general there were five; the Belgian 
group (Dunkerque- Antwerp), the Pas 
de Calais group (Boulogne-Calais), the 
North Seine (Dieppe-Le Havre-Rouen), 
the Cherbourg or Norman (Caen-Gran- 
ville), a nd the Brit tany group (St. Malo- 
Nantes). p^ffl/?^| 

The Roundup plans of 1942 were gen- 
erally based on an assault on a wide front, 
extending roughly from Calais to Le 
Havre, with an additional landing west of 
the Seine, and the possibility of an assault 
on the Cotentin Peninsula. Late in the 
year there was a noticeable shifting away 
from these plans for multiple assaults 
toward the idea of a more concentrated 
attack on a narrower front. 14 It was argued 
that if the assault was made in two or 
more widely separated areas simultane- 
ously or on a particularly wide front, Ger- 
man reserves would be in action even more 
quickly. A larger number of routes would 
be available to them and there would 
probably be some reserves close behind 
each assault area. A faster Allied rate of 
build-up would be required. An assault on 
a narrower front was therefore preferable. 
Reinforcing this conclusion at the time 
was the belief that, even if unlimited land- 
ing craft were available, the capacity of 
ports and loading points on the south coast 
of England would restrict the size of the 
force which could be embarked and sailed 
on any one day. 

12 COSSAC Papers (43) 22, PSO's Draft, 22 Jun43, 
Operation Overlord, Estimate of the Situation 
(British appreciation). 

ts Ibid., Annex B. 

yA See stf studies, sub: Notes on Factors Affecting 
Selection of Assault Areas and Method of Attack in 
a Major Opn in Northwest Europe, Dec 42 to Feb 43, 
SHAEF G-3 370-43, Opn Overlord Main Appre- 
ciation, Dec 42, with comments. 



An examination of the discharge capaci- 
ties of each port group revealed that no 
group or combination of groups could 
maintain large forces when ports were first 
opened, and that a large number of ports 
would be required after thirty days' de- 
velopment, even if they could all be cap- 
tured simultaneously. After three months, 
however, it was estimated that any two 
adjacent groups would meet the needs of 
a large force, and that the Brittany group 
alone might suffice for a smaller force. 

Assuming that the operation was to be 
carried out by a large force, the planners 
concluded that two groups of ports were 
required. The Normandy (or Cherbourg) 
and North Seine groups together possessed 
the maximum capacity in the least num- 
ber of ports. The Normandy and Brittany 
groups together had a larger total capacity, 
but were considered to be less economical 
to develop. The other two groups — the 
Pas de Calais and Belgian — figured less 
favorably in the considerations primarily 



because they constituted the very pivot of 
the enemy defense system. It followed 
therefore that of the possible combinations 
the Normandy-North Seine and the Nor- 
mandy-Brittany groups were preferred. 
Since the Normandy group was common 
to both these combinations it was evident 
that if the Allies captured that area they 
could later choose between attacking 
either of the others. These considerations 
constituted a powerful argument for the 
choice of the Normandy coast for the 

An important additional determinant 
in the selection of an assault area was the 
need for suitable beaches. The Combined 
Commanders' studies had shown that the 
required forces could not be maintained 
entirely through ports until approximately 
D plus 90 and that some maintenance 
would have to be carried out over the 
beaches throughout the first three months, 
supplemented when possible by air supply. 
The selection of the main assault area 
therefore depended as much on the char- 
acteristics of the beaches as on proximity 
to a group of ports. This would be the case, 
it was felt, even if the landings were unop- 
posed, for the enemy was certain to de- 
molish the ports before withdrawing. 

Several factors had to be kept in mind 
in the search for suitable beaches. Of para- 
mount importance was their capacity to 
accept and pass vehicles inland, for it 
would be necessary to put the force ashore 
at a rapid rate. To meet this prerequisite 
they had to be sheltered from prevailing 
winds and have sufficient width. Of vary- 
ing importance were such features as the 
gradient, the tide range, the beach exits, 
and the terrain overlooking them. With 
these requirements in mind the planners 
concluded that the most favorable beaches 
lay in the Caen sector of the Normandy 

area. There the beaches were of large 
capacity and sheltered against westerly 
and southwesterly winds, permitting a 
large force to be put ashore rapidly and 
maintained over them. 

The possession of beaches did not elimi- 
nate the necessity of opening a port 
quickly. No fully equipped force could 
achieve real mobility for more than a lim- 
ited period while maintained solely over 
beaches. Furthermore, the bulk of the 
vehicles and stores would require a quay- 
side for discharge if landing craft were 
limited in number and the larger Liberty 
ships had to be used. Consequently it was 
felt to be imperative that one major port 
be captured quickly. The only port of any 
importance in the Normandy area was 
Cherbourg, and to facilitate its capture the 
planners recommended that an assault in 
the Caen area should be extended to the 
eastern beaches of the Cotentin peninsula. 
A decision would later be necessary on 
whether to take the Seine or the Brittany 

These were by no means the exclusive 
considerations in the selection of an assault 
area. The enemy's beach and coastal de- 
fenses, his probable rate of reinforcement, 
the feasibility of providing fighter cover 
in the assault area and of opening air- 
fields in the beachhead, inland terrain and 
communications, and the naval problem — 
all figured in the study of possible landing 
areas. But the problems of logistic support 
occupied a pre-eminent place in every dis- 

The logistic problems of a cross-Channel 
invasion held continuing prominence in 
the 1943 planning. While considering the 
possibilities of carrying out a limited 
bridgehead operation against the Cotentin 
in 1943, or the chance of exploiting such 
an operation, the British Joint Planning 



Staff emphasized at the Casablanca Con- 
ference in January that success hinged 
largely on the possibility of augmenting 
the limited port capacity of Cherbourg by 
the capture of additional facilities so that 
adequate forces and supply reserves could 
be built up. Even if German opposition 
was negligible, it noted, progress would 
be slow owing to the Allies' limited re- 
sources in vehicle-carrying craft suitable 
for landing over beaches. 15 

The problem of continental discharge 
was again underscored after COSSAC 
took over the study of invasion problems 
in April 1943. In a memorandum to the 
British Chiefs of Staff General Morgan 
reiterated the argument that, in any am- 
phibious operation against opposition, the 
rate at which Allied forces could be built 
up after the initial assault must play a de- 
cisive part in the outcome. In the special 
case of a cross-Channel operation this 
would depend mainly on the volume of 
supplies and equipment, especially vehi- 
cles, that could be landed from LST's and 
LCT's. 16 Full use of these specialized ships 
and craft could be made only if adequate 
facilities existed for unloading them on the 
French coast. General Morgan was not 
satisfied that the berthing facilities on the 
far shore were adequate, observing that if 
the beaching of landing craft was relied 
on until ports were captured and put into 
use the turn-round period would be con- 
siderably longer than necessary, and ships 
would be unnecessarily exposed to attack. 
Furthermore, the whole operation would 
be excessively dependent on favorable 
weather. In June General Morgan asked 
his administrative planners to re-examine 
the problem with a view toward augment- 
ing port capacities by the use of floating 
piers and other equipment at the beaches. 
He also mentioned the possibility of creat- 

ing sheltered anchorages. 17 These were 
details, he noted, "on which'the result of 
the entire operation in 1944 may turn." 18 

The whole problem came into promi- 
nence at the end of June at the Rattle 
Conference, at which Commodore John 
Hughes-Hallett, chief naval planner on 
the COSSAC staff, proposed that the Al- 
lies prefabricate their own ports and tow 
them to the far shore. Preliminary experi- 
mentation along these lines had already 
been undertaken by the Chief of Com- 
bined Operations, the Director of Trans- 
portation, and the Admiralty, and the 
concept of artificial ports as they later de- 
veloped gradually began to crystallize. 
The Rattle conferees recognized the 
need of detailing one officer to co-ordinate 
the planning for this project, 19 and 
COSSAC made such a recommendation 
after the conclusion of the conference. 20 

The findings and conclusions of the 
planners finally found formal expression 
in the outline or digest of the Overlord 
plan presented by COSSAC representa- 
tives to the Combined Chiefs at Quebec in 
August. In general the plan echoed the 
results of the previous months' planning 
with respect to the choice of an assault 
area, the importance of the availability of 
sufficient landing ships and craft, and the 
capacities of beaches and ports in the 
lodgment area. Among its conclusions 

15 CCS 167, 22 Jan 43, Symbol Conf, Rpt by British 
Joint Ping Stf on Continental Opns in 1943. 

16 Landing Ships, Tank, and Landing Craft, Tank. 

17 COSSAC (43), 11th Rpt, 26Jun 43. 

18 Memo, COSSAC for COS Com, sub: Disem- 
barkation Facilities on Continental Beaches, 
COSSAC (43) IB, Draft and Final Copies, SHAEF 
SGS 800.1 Mulberry I. 

19 COSSAC (43), COSSAC Stf Conf, 1 3th Mtg, 
2 Jul 43. 

20 Min, PSO Com Mtg, 5 Jul-43; COSSAC (43) 
12th Mtg, 6 Jul 43, SHAEF G-4 825.1 Mulberry 



concerning the main conditions affecting 
the success of the operation it noted that 
the provision of sheltered waters by artifi- 
cial means and of special berthing facilities 
were matters of paramount importance. 21 
The plan provided for assault landings 
by three divisions over the Normandy 
beaches in the vicinity of Caen. Airborne 
forces were to seize that city with the line 
Grandcamp-Bayeux-Caen as the D-Day 
objective. After the beachhead gained 
sufficient depth and additional troops be- 
came available, Allied forces were to exe- 
cute a turning movement into the Cotentin 
to capture the major part of Cherbourg. 
The magnitude of the logistic problem 
was indicated by the calculation that 
eighteen divisions would have to be main- 
tained over beaches during the first month 
of operation, and twelve during the sec- 
ond month, while every captured port, 
large and small, was being used. The con- 
struction of two prefabricated ports 
(known as Mulberries) eventually be- 
came a key feature of the final Overlord 

The planners had also come to a tenta- 
tive conclusion about subsequent opera- 
tions to obtain an additional group of 
ports. They anticipated that after the cap- 
ture of Cherbourg the Supreme Com- 
mander probably would have to make a 
choice between the Seine ports and the 
Brittany group as the next major objec- 
tive. Much would depend on where the 
enemy concentrated his strength in reac- 
tion to the initial landings. Driving east to 
the Seine ports was regarded as a more 
ambitious undertaking and an unlikely 
choice, for it would necessitate forcing the 
line of the Seine, capturing Paris, and ad- 
vancing as far as the Somme River in 
order to cover the development of the 
Seine ports. To make this attempt pre- 

maturely with relatively small resources 
would be to run the risk of defeat. It was 
more likely that the Supreme Commander 
would find it necessary to capture the 
Brittany and Loire ports first. The latter 
course would open up sufficient port 
facilities and permit a build-up of forces, 
adequately maintained, in preparation for 
capturing Paris and forcing a passage of 
the Seine. The successive steps after the 
initial assault would therefore be to cap- 
ture Cherbourg, then to drive the enemy 
as rapidly as possible far enough eastward 
to secure the left flank of the beachhead, 
and under this cover to seize the Brittany 
peninsula. 22 This course would make the 
most economic use of Allied resources. It 
was important, the planners added, that 
the Allied forces not outrun their lines of 
communication, and it was anticipated 
that after capturing the lodgment they 
would be forced to halt or limit their oper- 
ation eastward in order that the lines of 
communications could be properly estab- 
lished, additional airfields could be 
restored or built, and considerable quan- 
tities of engineer materials sent forward. 

Equal in importance to the problem of 
a rapid build-up and adequate mainte- 
nance was the matter of the scale of the 
assault. Misgivings over the inadequacy of 
the force were expressed initially at the 
Quebec Conference in August. Prime 
Minister Churchill asserted that the scale 
of the assault was too small and should be 
strengthened. 23 Whether he meant by this 
augmenting the assault waves or the total 
force lifted was not at first clear. At any 
rate, any attempt to enlarge the invasion 

21 Opn Overlord, Rpt and Appreciation, Jul 43, 
SHAEF 381, Overlord I (a). 

22 Opn Overlord Plan, COSSAC (43) 28, 15 
Jul 43. 

23 COSSAC (43) Min of Stf Conf, 23d Mtg, 
30 Aug 43. 



force had to contend with the most per- 
sistent limiting factor of the entire war — 
the shortage of landing craft. This prob- 
lem had come into sharp focus when the 
COSSAC staff attempted to formulate de- 
tailed plans for the size of the assault and 
build-up forces for Overlord. General 
Morgan had found that barely enough 
craft would be provided to mount the 
three assault divisions properly, and that 
the immediate follow-up force would be 
most inadequately loaded. He was seri- 
ously concerned over a dangerous gap on 
D plus 1 because of the nonavailability of 
landing craft and the impossibility of 
combat loading in normal shipping. The 
hazards of an inadequate follow-up had 
been demonstrated at Salerno. He felt 
that there was already "too high a propor- 
tion of our goods in the shop window," 
and that there was no provision for a 
floating reserve formation in the real sense 
of the term. General Morgan's proposed 
solution therefore was to strengthen the 
follow-up ("stocking the back premises" 
he called it) rather than the assault, and 
he presented figures on the additional 
craft needed. 24 For several months, how- 
ever, the COSSAC planners were unable 
to obtain specific commitments as to the 
resources which would be made available. 
Late in September General Morgan com- 
plained that the CCS directive placed at 
his disposal a quantity of landing craft 
which bore little or no relation to the 
actual requirements of the proposed 

Late in the year the Overlord plan 
was subjected to additional scrutiny by 
Generals Eisenhower and Montgomery, 
the newly designated Supreme Com- 
mander and ground force commander for 
Overlord respectively. Both were dis- 
satisfied with the proposed scale of the as- 

sault, and at the Supreme Commander's 
conference on 21 January 1944 General 
Montgomery pressed for an attack on a 
wider front. In addition to tactical rea- 
sons, there was the all -important need for 
the early capture of the port of Cher- 
bourg. In considering the approaches to 
Cherbourg the 21 Army Group com- 
mander pointed out that under the cur- 
rently proposed scheme the marshes and 
rivers at the base of the Cotentin provided 
a natural defensive barrier which would 
undoubtedly delay the drive on the port 
It followed that a plan to capture Cher- 
bourg quickly must provide for a landing 
on the northern side of the barrier (the 
Douve River). For this. reason the area of 
assault should be extended to include ad- 
ditional beaches on the east Cotentin. It 
was desirable to widen the landing front 
for the additional reason that the beach- 
head was likely to become badly con- 
gested, The strongest arguments against 
this proposed change were put forward by 
the Allied Naval Commander-in-Chief, 
Admiral Sir Bertram H. Ramsay, who 
feared that strengthening the assault 
would lead to serious congestion in the 
southern English ports and would also put 
a heavy tax on naval resources. 25 General 
Eisenhower had already come to the same 
conclusions as Montgomery, however, 
and immediately recommended to the 
Combined Chiefs an extension of the front 
and an increase in the assault force from 
three divisions to five. 26 

Broadening the attack only created ad- 
ditional demands for shipping, and thus 

24 COSSAC Papers (43) 57 (Final), 30 Sep 43, sub: 
Supply of Landing Craft for Opn Overlord. 

^ Min, Supreme Comdr's Conf, 2 1 Jan 44, SHAEF 
SGS 337/1 1. 

26 Cbl, Eisenhower to CCS, 23 Jan 44, SHAEF 381 
Bigot, Overlord-Anvil. 



further aggravated the already chronic 
shortage in landing craft. Allied planners 
now estimated that an additional 231 
ships and craft would be required to per- 
mit the desired widening and enlargement 
of the assault. The extra shipping could 
be made available in three ways: cutting 
down the scales of vehicles carried in the 
assault and follow-up to provide lift for 
additional units; postponing the target 
date one month to allow for additional 
production; and drawing shipping from 
the Mediterranean or other sources. 

The enlargement of the assault had its 
most profound impact on plans for 
launching the Anvil operation from the 
south, planning for which was already 
under way. Since the supply of landing 
craft was critical in all theaters, and re- 
quirements had been figured closely for 
all needs, it was likely that any appreci- 
able increase in lift for Overlord would 
have to be made at the expense of the 
southern France operation. Anvil was de- 
signed primarily to assist Overlord by 
creating a diversion to draw off or hold 
enemy strength, and the possibility of 
weakening or eliminating it was a matter 
of strategic import. General Eisenhower 
hoped to avoid either prospect, since he 
regarded the operation as an integral part 
of the Overlord invasion design. It was 
obviously desirable to apply the fullest 
possible weight of Allied power against 
the enemy, and the cancellation of Anvil 
would mean that seven American and 
seven French divisions would lie idle in 
the Mediterranean. 27 While the Supreme 
Commander was fully aware of these im- 
plications, he also felt the need for a five- 
division assault in the north as a mini- 
mum to give a favorable chance for suc- 
cess. Experience in Italy had confirmed 
the conviction that the Overlord landing 

force must be strong enough to achieve 
quick success, particularly in capturing 
ports. 28 

Without attempting an immediate 
solution of the landing craft problem the 
Combined Chiefs of Staff at the end of 
January approved the enlargement of 
Overlord and postponed D Day by one 
month. Early in February the plan there- 
fore called for an assault by five seaborne 
divisions on a widened front including the 
east Cotentin beaches. The U.S. portion 
of the assault was to be made by the First 
Army in co-operation with the Western 
Naval Task Force, one regimental combat 
team landing between Varreville and the 
Douve River (Utah Beach), and two regi- 
mental combat teams landing between 
Vierville and Colleville-sur-Mer (Omaha 
Beach). One airborne division was to drop 
behind Utah in the initial assault. The 
first major objective was the capture of 

General Eisenhower was unwavering in 
his conviction that Overlord must be 
strong enough to preclude any risk of fail- 
ure, regardless of the effect on Anvil. 
Nevertheless, he clung to the hope that 
the resources might yet be found to launch 
that operation, directing the planners to 
work out a compromise shipping plan 
which would permit the simultaneous 
launching of the two operations, and post- 
poning a final decision until the middle of 
March. By that time it became evident 
that any loading plans employing the 
available lift were too inflexible for safety 
and that Overlord itself would be en- 
dangered by attempting to carry off both 
operations at the same time. Late in the 

27 COSSAC (44) Min of Stf Confs, Mtg convened 
by Supreme Cmdr, 21 Jan 44. 

28 Gbl, Eisenhowento Marshall, 6 Feb 44, SHAEF 
SGS 381 Overlord-Anvil. 



month the Supreme Commander reluc- 
tantly recommended that the southern 
operation be canceled as then planned, 
and some of the shipping in the Mediter- 
ranean was transferred to England so that 
Overlord could be mounted in the de- 
sired strength. Anvil did not die, although 
its future was highly uncertain for the 
next few months. Despite that uncertainty 
the boundaries between the European 
and North African theaters were shifted 
in March to place southern France within 
the North African theater's jurisdiction 
and responsibility. Switzerland, Hungary, 
and Austria as well as Vichy France were 
detached from the ETO. After the Nor- 
mandy invasion, when the pressure on the 
available shipping resources was removed, 
a way was finally found to launch the 
operation in southern France. 29 

The Overlord plan was revised from 
time to time until the very date it was 
launched. Two further amendments are 
worth noting because of the influence of 
logistic considerations. One change, made 
almost concurrently with the extension of 
the assault area to the east Cotentin, dealt 
with the employment of airborne forces. 
General Marshall had voiced an objection 
to the wide dispersion of airborne forces 
provided for in the earlier plan, and at a 
meeting at 2 1 Army Group headquarters 
in mid-February this objection was sec- 
onded by the top American and British 
ground force commanders. It is evident 
from their discussion that the importance 
of the port problem was firmly riveted in 
their minds. General Bradley considered 
that the main object of the early stages of 
Overlord must be to seize Cherbourg as 
soon as possible and argued that nothing 
should be allowed to deflect from that 
aim. His stand was reinforced by General 
Montgomery, who pointed up the neces- 

sity of capturing Cherbourg and then the 
Brittany and Loire ports in order to secure 
a lodgment area with an assured mainte- 
nance. The attainment of the first objec- 
tive dictated the greatest possible concen- 
tration of strength in the Cotentin, and 
the final plan accordingly provided for 
the employment of two American air- 
borne divisions in the Cotentin to facil- 
itate the early capture of Cherbourg. In 
Montgomery's view this would be the 
"main battle." 30 

A second revision in the Overlord 
design emphasized even more pointedly 
the planners' preoccupation with the far- 
shore discharge problem. While Cher- 
bourg enjoyed a necessary priority in the 
port development plans, it was the 
Brittany group that U.S. forces expected 
to rely on after the first months on the 
Continent. The second major objective of 
Overlord was the capture of the Brittany 
peninsula under the cover of the main 
body of Allied forces on the left (east) 
flank. The initial Overlord plan antici- 
pated as the first step in the capture of 
Brittany a thrust southward across the 
base of the peninsula to seize the ports of 
Nantes and St. Nazaire at the mouth of 
the Loire River, followed by operations 
westward with Brest and the smaller ports 
of the peninsula as the main objectives. In 
April 1944 this scheme was revised by the 
adoption of a supplementary plan known 
as Chastity, under which the capture of 
Nantes and St. Nazaire was to be deferred. 
Instead, a major port of entry for U.S. 

29 See Forrest G. Pogue, The Supreme Command, 
(Washington, 1953), and Harrison, Cross-Channel 
Attack, for fuller accounts of the controversy over 

30 Note of Mtg at 2 1 A Gp Hq, 1 8 Feb 44, SHAEF 
SGS 373/2 Employment of Airborne Forces in Opn 
Overlord, I. 



forces and supplies was to be developed at 
Quiberon Bay, a large well-protected inlet 
on the south coast of Brittany approxi- 
mately midway between the Loire estuary 
and Lorient. 

Several factors influenced this change 
in plan. In one respect Chastity was a 
further strategic-economic amendment to 
Overlord in that it precluded the neces- 
sity for an extensive crossing of a major 
obstacle, the Loire, and the establishment 
of a protective bridgehead south of the 
river, which would have been necessary if 
the ports of St. Nazaire and Nantes were 
to be utilized. The capture of such a 
bridgehead would have required a large 
number of troops, and would have in- 
volved maintenance over a restricted road 
line of communications from the northern 
ports. Chastity would allow a more 
economic use of resources which, at best, 
would be limited in the early phases. 

The Quiberon Bay project was also seen 
as the solution to another major logistic 
problem. A restudy of port capacities on 
the Continent revealed that the require- 
ments of the build-up simply would not be 
met; discharge facilities had to be aug- 
mented in some way, particularly in the 
post-OvERLORD phase, after D plus 90. 
Nantes and St. Nazaire would in all prob- 
ability be destroyed. Furthermore, the 
Normandy beaches were expected to be 
useful for only a limited period and would 
be completely abandoned with the advent 
of bad weather in the fall. Most serious of 
all would be the inadequate facilities for 
discharging Liberty ships. Quayside dis- 
charge of deep-draft ships such as the 
Liberties would become a growing neces- 
sity as the operation progressed, for it was 
planned that much of the shallow-draft 
coaster tonnage would be withdrawn 
about D plus 42. This would force the use 

of Liberties, which in turn imposed the 
necessity of discharging nearly all of the 
cargo by lighters and amphibious vehicles 
between D plus 42 and 90. It was essential 
therefore to have facilities with character- 
istics required for lighters or berths for 
deep-draft ships. 

The Quiberon Bay area appeared to 
offer a better solution to the problem than 
did any other location on the northwest 
coast of France. Preliminary studies re- 
vealed that the area had over 3,000 yards 
of hard beach of required slope, a shel- 
tered anchorage capable of accommodat- 
ing about 200 Liberty ships, and four 
minor ports within easy reach suitable for 
high-line discharge at first and for deep- 
water piers later. Furthermore, the Allies 
could make maximum use of personnel 
and equipment by concentrating the dis- 
charge of cargo in one area instead of dis- 
persing it, and by shortening the haul, 
thereby decreasing the turn-round of ve- 
hicles and increasing their daily tonnage 
capacity. An excellent road and rail net- 
work was known to exist within easy reach 
of many discharge points around the bay; 
and the shortened line of haul from the 
bay direct to army maintenance areas 
would increase carrying capacity and re- 
lieve the overworked network of roads and 
railways from the Normandy region. 

The Quiberon Bay project had certain 
tactical disadvantages, particularly from 
the point of view of air and naval protec- 
tion, but the strategic-logistic advantages 
of the project outweighed them all, and 
administrative planners of all the agencies 
involved became convinced that it was a 
vital military necessity. The shortage of 
rail and motor transportation, the prac- 
tical certainty that the rail net from Brest 
would be destroyed beyond hope of early 
repair, the limited capacity of the rail lines 



leading southeast from Cherbourg, the un- 
availability of the Loire ports until a 
bridgehead was established on the south 
bank of that river, and the certainty of 
inadequate port capacity at D plus 90 
under the earlier plans all impelled 
Supreme Headquarters to give its blessing 
to the scheme, and operational plans were 
altered to provide for capture of the area 
by the Third Army. 31 Adoption of the 
Quiberon project in April constituted the 
last major amendment to the cross- 
Channel invasion plan. 

Adoption of the plan by no means 
minimized the importance of Brest. It was 
intended rather to obviate both tactical 
and logistic disadvantages of earlier plans, 
and to boost the total port discharge 
capacity of the Brittany area. The Brittany 
ports were believed to be so vital logis- 
tically that Allied planners began to study 
the possibility of amphibious and com- 
bined amphibious-airborne operations to 
capture St. Malo, Brest, and Quiberon 
Bay in the event U.S. forces were unable 
to advance beyond the neck of the Cher- 
bourg peninsula. 32 

The evolution of Overlord clearly re- 
veals the extent to which logistical factors 
determined the scale of the assault, the 
choice of the lodgment area and initial ob- 
jectives, and the speed of attainment of 
those objectives. The supply of shipping 
and the capacity of continental discharge 
facilities were the most recurrent of the 
limiting factors, and served as common 
denominators in all the deliberations over 
the cross-Channel invasion design. Their 
importance was clearly evident in the dis- 
cussions of the Quiberon Bay project. 
Once the invading forces had secured a 
foothold on the Continent the most im- 
portant single strategic objective was to be 
the capture and development of major 

ports. These plans had a larger objective, 
of course — the destruction of enemy 
forces — but the adequate build-up and 
proper maintenance of Allied forces were 
prerequisite to that end. 

While the final Overlord plan bore 
strong resemblance to the outline which 
the COSSAC planners presented to the 
Combined Chiefs of Staff at Quebec in 
August 1943, it had undergone important 
revision through enlargement and 
strengthening. As finally executed the 
plan called for amphibious assaults by five 
divisions on the Normandy coast between 
the Orne River and the Carentan estuary 
and on the east coast of the Cotentin 
peninsula, preceded by airborne landings 
by one British division near Caen and by 
two U.S. divisions in the Carentan-Ste. 
Mere-Eglis e area several hou rs earlier. 
\(Map 5 — inside back cover )\ American 
seaborne torces were to land on Utah 
Beach, on the east coast of the Cotentin in 
the vicinity of Ste. Mere-Eglise, and on 
Omaha Beach, in the vicinity of St. 
Laurent-sur-Mer. Assault landing craft 
were to transport three British divisions 
with attached Commando units, and two 
U.S. divisions with attached Ranger units. 
Landing craft and ships for two additional 

31 Ltr, Hq FEGOMZ to GG FUSAG, 30 Mar 44, 
sub: Development of Bay of Quiberon; Ltr, Admiral 
Ramsay to CAO SHAEF, 13 Apr 44, sub: Port capac- 
ities, Northwest Europe-Quiberon Bay; Ltr, Gen 
Crawford, G-4 SHAEF, to GofS SHAEF, 22 Apr 44, 
sub: Adoption of Quiberon Bay Project; Ltr, Gen 
Smith, GofS SHAEF, to Admiral Ramsay, 24 Apr 44, 
sub: Quiberon Bay Project. All in SHAEF SGS 800.4 
Quiberon Bay Project. See also History of 12th Army 
Group, I, 348-57. The plan that eventually evolved 
differed substantially from the original concept, how- 
ever. See below, Ch. VII, Sec. 3. 

32 See below, Gh. XI, Sec. 6, for reference to plans 
Beneficiary (St. Malo), Hands Up (Quiberon Bay), 
and Swordhilt (Brest). Third Army Outline Plan, 
1 2 May 44, and Ltr, 2 1 A Gp to FUSA, 28 Apr 44, 
SHAEF G-3 GGT 370-291 Plans. 



divisions afloat were to be provided for the 
follow-up on the second tide of D Day. 
Heavy air and naval bombardment of 
enemy forces was to precede the seaborne 

Overlord called first for a rapid ad- 
vance inland and in the west the early 
capture of Cherbourg, to be followed by 
an eastward expansion of the beachhead 
to the Eure River from Dreux to Rouen 
and thence along the Seine to the sea, and 
the simultaneous seizure of Chartres, 
Orleans, and Tours. Meanwhile U.S. 
forces were to drive south to cut off the 
Brittany peninsula and pave the way for 

the opening of the Brittany ports and de- 
velopment of Quiberon Bay. Clearance of 
the area south to the Loire was to com- 
plete the mission announced in the Over- 
lord plan — the establishment of the 
lodgment. This was expected to require 
three months (to D plus 90). The plan 
made an additional assumption which was 
to prove historically significant so far as 
logistic operations were concerned: a 
pause would probably be necessary upon 
the completion of the operation to permit 
the development of the administrative 
base in preparation for an advance beyond 
the Seine. 


Command and Organization — 
and the Assignment of Planning 

January-June 1944 

(1 ) Formation of the Major Commands 

One result of the increasing tempo of 
invasion planning in the fall and winter of 
1943-44 was that decisions on command 
and organization took a more definite 
turn. Efforts had continued throughout 
1943 to work out a satisfactory delineation 
of authority in supply and administration, 
but the repeated reorganizations had left 
the problem far from solved. Merged with 
this struggle late in the year was the need 
to work out a command and organiza- 
tional arrangement for the cross-Channel 
invasion both on the national and Allied 
levels, and to assign responsibilities for the 
detailed planning of the operation. These 
problems were closely related, since the 
necessity for an adequate command struc- 
ture for continental operations had a di- 
rect bearing on the duties and authority 
of the SOS and its relationship to other 
commands. The efforts of the SOS to im- 
prove its position eventually culminated in 
the consolidation of its headquarters with 
that of ETOUSA. To understand how this 

came about it is necessary to see first how 
the major commands of the theater de- 
veloped after the planning for Overlord 
began in earnest. 

In August 1943 ETOUSA had three 
major subordinate commands: the Eighth 
Air Force (air forces), the V Corps 
(ground forces), and the Services of Sup- 
ply (service forces). 1 The Eighth Air Force 
was already carrying on operations against 
the enemy. The SOS had long been active 
in the field of administration and supply, 
and its importance was naturally en- 
hanced by the accelerated build-up which 
now began in preparation for the cross- 
Channel operation. The V Corps con- 
tinued to serve as the highest ground 
force headquarters in the theater. 

As the various planning and training 
organizations were formed, it became im- 
portant to develop a ground force com- 
mand for the assault, and plans for a 

1 There were two other commands directly under 
Headquarters, ETOUSA, but of less importance to 
this discussion — the Iceland Base Command and the 
American School Center. 



higher headquarters began to take form 
early in the year. The knowledge that the 
British were intending to organize an 
army headquarters during the summer in- 
fluenced these plans. General Andrews 
recommended that the Americans do the 
same, partly to help promote the deception 
that an Allied attack was being planned 
for 1943. General Devers pushed the idea 
further when he assumed command, ask- 
ing that Lt. Gen. Omar N. Bradley, then 
commanding the II Corps in Sicily, be 
sent to the United Kingdom to replace 
General Hartle, and also asking that an 
army commander be assigned to initiate 
planning for the invasion operation. 2 

The idea received further impetus in 
July when the British proceeded with the 
skeleton organization of their entire 
ground force command for Overlord, 
activating two armies and the 21 Army 
Group. In notifying General Devers of this 
development General Morgan suggested 
that the Americans also create a skele- 
tonized army group headquarters in addi- 
tion to an army headquarters. Anticipat- 
ing approval of the Overlord plan in the 
following month he believed that these 
headquarters should be established so that 
they would familiarize themselves with 
their duties, prepare to undertake detailed 
planning for the invasion, and eventually 
take over command of the operation. 

General Devers was in accord with this 
idea and again urged it on the War De- 
partment, but without immediate success. 
Action was finally forthcoming after the 
Quebec Conference. General Bradley was 
relieved of his command in the Mediter- 
ranean early in September and, after con- 
ferences in Washington, arrived in the 
United Kingdom early the next month. 
He immediately undertook the organiza- 
tion of both an army and an army group 

headquarters. Within the month both 
were activated, the 1st U.S. Army Group 
(FUSAG) at Bryanston Square, London, 
and the First U.S. Army (FUSA) at 
Bristol. After the latter took over opera- 
tional control of all ground forces in the 
United Kingdom from V Corps on 23 
October, all ground force troops were as- 
signed to First Army rather than V Corps 
for administration and training. Included 
in the change was the Assault Training 
Center, which was the most active agency 
training U.S. troops for the D-Day as- 
sault. 3 General Bradley exercised com- 
mand of both First Army and 1st Army 

The relationship of the army and army 
group vis-a-vis ETOUSA and SOS was to 
be a matter of considerable confusion, and 
produced many conflicts over responsibili- 
ties and authority in both the planning 
and execution of the continental opera- 
tion. The problem was to come to a head 
later in the year when the whole subject of 
command and organization in the theater 
came up for review. Meanwhile 1st Army 
Group devoted itself mainly to planning 
with 2 1 Army Group, while First Army as- 
sumed the position of over-all U.S. field 
force headquarters in the United King- 
dom, although it was also to have plan- 
ning functions connected with its opera- 
tional mission. The air forces in the United 
Kingdom also expanded in size and 
evolved a command organization in an- 
ticipation of the Overlord operation. For 
a long time the Eighth Air Force acted as 
the highest air force headquarters in the 
theater, paralleling the V Corps as the 
highest ground force command. It re- 
covered more quickly than the ground 

2 Organization and Command, I, 270-71. 

3 Ibid,, I, 271-78. 



forces from the losses to Torch, and de- 
veloped rapidly during 1943. By August it- 
was carrying on a full-scale air war against 
Germany. The emphasis within the Eighth 
from the start was on bombing, and its 
operations were carried on in close col- 
laboration with the British, though no 
combined command was set up for the 

Aside from the question of a combined 
command for strategic bombing, the 
projected invasion of the Continent raised 
the problem of an air command for close 
support of ground operations. Experience 
in North Africa had indicated that the air 
forces in a theater should be divided into 
strategic and tactical commands, and Gen- 
eral Arnold in August 1943 recommended 
such a division of the ETOUSA air forces. 
General Eaker had already foreseen the 
desirability of this arrangement and had 
organized the VIII Air Support Com- 
mand to operate alongside the VIII 
Bomber Command, both of them under 
his command. 

The matter of separate air commands 
for tactical and strategic purposes became 
prominent within a few weeks as a result 
of the decision of the Combined Chiefs of 
Staff at the Quebec Conference to set up a 
tactical air command on the Allied level. 
The U.S. tactical air forces were to be con- 
siderably augmented for the cross-Chan- 
nel operation, and General Arnold at this 
time decided to send Maj. Gen. Lewis H. 
Brereton and the headquarters of the 
Ninth Air Force, which he then com- 
manded in the Middle East, to the United 
Kingdom to form the U.S. command com- 
ponent of the tactical air forces for Over- 
lord. The headquarters of the Ninth 
actually, moved to the United Kingdom in 
September and October, and General 
Brereton arrived early in October to take 

command. Tactical air units previously as- 
signed to the VIII Air Support Command 
were now assigned to the Ninth, and with 
the aid of personnel transferred from the 
Eighth Air Force the Ninth began plan- 
ning and carrying out preinvasion opera- 
tions in the United Kingdom. 4 In order to 
co-ordinate the work of the Eighth and 
Ninth Air Forces and to keep control of 
both in the hands of General Eaker, an 
over-all U.S. air command known as the 
United States Army Air Forces in the 
United Kingdom (USAAFUK) was set 

This new headquarters was almost iden- 
tical with the old Eighth Air Force, and 
the VIII Bomber Command eventually 
became for the most part the new Eighth 
Air Force. Furthermore, the general staff 
of USAAFUK for the moment at least was 
the same as that of the Eighth Air Force, 
and its special staff the same as that of the 
VIII Air Force Service Command. The 
struggle over control of supply and ad- 
ministration at theater level had been 
largely duplicated within the air forces, 
and the same transition had taken place as 
within Headquarters, ETOUSA. In Octo- 
ber 1943 the functions of the A-4, Eighth 
Air Force (corresponding to G-4, 
ETOUSA) had been transferred to the 
Commanding General, VIII Air Force 
Service Command (corresponding to the 
Commanding General, SOS), and the 
special staff sections of the Eighth Air 
Force were placed under the service com- 
mand. Called the VIII Air Force Service 
Command, the organization in effect 

4 At the same time, the VIII Air Force Service 
Command was divided to form a mobile air service 
command for the Ninth. Brig. Gen. Hugh J. Knerr re- 
mained in command of the VIII AFSC, and Maj. 
Gen, Henry J. F. Miller was named to command the 
IX Air Service Command. 



became an over-all air service command 
and a part of USAAFUK. As in the 
theater command, therefore, the desire to 
concentrate all administrative and supply 
services in one command, and the adapta- 
tion to continental operational conditions 
in anticipation of the invasion, had an 
inevitable influence on the organization 
and control of the U.S. air forces. 5 

Equally important as a factor in shaping 
the organization of ETOUSA and its 
major commands was the development of 
the top Allied command for Overlord. 
The principle of unified command in each 
area of operations had been agreed upon 
even before the United States entered the 
war, and the idea had already been car- 
ried out in Southeast Asia and North 
Africa. The question of such a combined 
command for the European operation was 
broached as early as July 1942*." But there 
was no urgency about the matter at the 
time, nor was there agreement on the 
powers and functions of such a command. 
The subject was again discussed at Casa- 
blanca in January 1943, and, while a 
supreme commander was not designated, 
the principle was definitely agreed to. 
Shortly thereafter the first step was taken 
in the creation of such a command with 
the establishment of a provisional staff 
(COSSAC) pending his appointment. The 
main questions that remained in 1943 
were those of naming the commander, 
defining his powers, and determining the 
organization of the Allied forces under 

The organization of the major combined 
commands which were to function under 
the Supreme Commander actually pre- 
ceded his appointment. Three major com- 
mands were organized during the summer 
and fall of 1943. These were the Allied 
Expeditionary Air Force (tactical air 

forces) , the 2 1 Army Group (ground 
forces), and the Allied Naval Expedi- 
tionary Force (naval forces). The air and 
naval commands were decided on at the 
Quebec Conference and were organized 
while the choice of the supreme com- 
mander was still being discussed. In fact, 
the development of an air command had 
begun in June 1943, when Air Chief 
Marshal Portal of the RAF proposed to 
General Devers that a tactical air com- 
mander be chosen and his powers defined. 
Air Marshal Sir Trafford Leigh-Mallory 
was already tentatively slated for the posi- 
tion, and at the Quebec Conference he 
was definitely named to command the 
Allied Expeditionary Air Force ( AEAF) in 
Overlord. COSSAC's directive in No- 
vember defining the commander in chief's 
powers gave Leigh-Mallory control over 
all the Allied tactical air forces supporting 
the invasion. These were to consist of the 
RAF Tactical Command and the U.S. 
Ninth Air Force. Administrative control 
of the latter remained with USAAFUK. 
Efforts on the part of the U.S. Chiefs of 
Staff to have the strategic air forces placed 
under an Allied command met with op- 
position from the British, and a decision 
on this problem was postponed. 6 

An over-all naval command was also 
decided on at the Quebec Conference. 
Since the bulk of the naval forces in Over- 
lord were to be British, it was a foregone 
conclusion that the naval commander 
would also be British. Admiral Ramsay 
was appointed Commander-in-Chief, 
Allied Naval Expeditionary Force 
(ANCXF), in October with complete 
command of the naval forces in the opera- 
tion under the Supreme Commander. 

5 Organization and Command, I, 279-86. 

6 Ibid,, I, 295-99. 



Operational control of U.S. naval forces 
thus passed from ETOUS A to the Allied 
command. As with the air forces, admin- 
istration and supply remained with 
national agencies. 7 

The Allied ground force command dif- 
fered from the naval and air commands 
in that it was to be only temporary. In 
November 1943, 21 Army Group was 
finally designated as the over-all ground 
command, but it was decided that the 
commander-in-chief of 21 Army Group 
would be in command of Allied ground 
forces only during the early stages of 
Overlord, or until such time as the build- 
up of American forces warranted the 
introduction of a U.S. army group as an 
over-all ground command for American 
forces. Thereafter the ground forces were 
to operate under their respective national 
commanders, subject of course to the 
Supreme Commander, who was to ex- 
ercise direct command on the ground. 
Gen. Sir Bernard L. Montgomery was 
designated commander-in-chief of 21 
Army Group and took command late in 

Fundamental to the whole problem of 
Allied command and organization and 
coloring all the deliberations over it was 
the question of whether the Supreme 
Commander should be British or Ameri- 
can. While Prime Minister Churchill had 
laid down the principle at Casablanca 
that the nation having the preponderance 
of forces should also have the command, a 
final decision on the choice of a com- 
mander was not to be made till late in the 
year. Because the British had had more 
operational experience than the Ameri- 
cans, and because they were more active 
in the planning carried on by COSSAC, 
there was a strong tendency at first to 
assume that the Supreme Commander 

would be British. All early thinking in 
ETOUSA on the subject was predicated 
on this assumption, and in attempting to 
work out a suitable theater command and 
organization in anticipation of the even- 
tual creation of an Allied command Gen- 
eral Devers was constantly on guard lest a 
command be set up in such a way as to 
endanger American interests. 

General Devers' guiding principle was 
what he called the Pershing Principle of 
1917, the essence of which was that the 
integrity of U.S. forces should be pre- 
served. One outstanding example of this 
thinking can be seen in his insistence that 
the Supreme Commander should not 
report to the Combined Chiefs through 
the British Chiefs of Staff, which was a 
feature of some of the early proposals on 
a combined command. General Andrews 
had insisted earlier that this would be 
detrimental to U.S. interests, especially if 
the Supreme Commander were British. 
The central feature of General Devers' 
later proposals was the assurance that the 
senior U.S. officer in the theater should 
retain enough power to protect American 
interests. Without knowing what the na- 
tionality of the Supreme Commander 
would be, he felt that the senior U.S. com- 
mander in the theater should command 
the U.S. field forces and at the same time 
continue as Commanding General, 
ETOUSA, for in the latter position he 
would have a direct channel of com- 
munication with the U,S. Chiefs of Staff 
and would be on a level with the British 
Chiefs of Staff. Devers also suggested that 
the Commanding General, ETOUSA, 
delegate all nonoperational matters to a 
deputy commander in London so that 
when his field headquarters was estab- 

7 Ibid., I, 299-300. 



lished the theater headquarters would be 
his rear echelon under his deputy. 

Most of these proposals were carried out 
in ETOUSA organization, although they 
were based at this time on the assumption 
that the Supreme Commander would be 
British. Drafts and redrafts of papers out- 
lining the proposed command setup con- 
tinued to be passed about all through the 
summer and fall of 1943. The problem of 
nationality was decided at Quebec in 
August; the actual choice of General 
Eisenhower as Supreme Commander was 
finally made in the course of the Cairo- 
Tehran Conferences early in December. 
General Eisenhower arrived in England 
to take command of Allied forces on 16 
January 1944, his headquarters being 
designated Supreme Headquarters, Allied 
Expeditionary Force, or SHAEF. 

The establishment of the combined air, 
ground, and naval commands thus ante- 
dated the creation of an over-all Supreme 
Command, although SHAEF had a pred- 
ecessor in the COSSAC organization 
which formed the nucleus of the new 
headquarters. COSSAC had been origi- 
nally established mainly as a planning 
staff. As the combined commands began 
to take shape in the fall of 1943, it began 
to assume more and more of the character- 
istics of a supreme headquarters organiza- 
tion. In September it changed from a 
purely planning agency to an executive 
one and began to issue directives to the 
recently named air and naval com- 
manders on their responsibilities in the 
coming invasion. Basic directives on 
Overlord planning were issued at the 
end of November. By mid-January 1944 
COSSAC had served its purpose, and 
with the arrival of the Supreme Com- 
mander it was transformed into the 
Supreme Headquarters. 8 

(2) Consolidation of ETOUSA and SOS 

The formation of the 1st U.S. Army 
Group and the various components of the 
Allied command was to have a decisive 
impact on theater headquarters organiza- 
tion, The assumption of an increasing 
share of both the planning and operational 
responsibilities by COSSAC and the com- 
bined commands gradually reduced 
ETOUSA's role. ETOUSA's planning 
function was definitely on the wane. The 
G-5 Plans Section was discontinued in 
October and its chief, General Barker, was 
permanently transferred to COSSAC. The 
new combined commands stripped 
ETOUSA of other officers in order to 
meet the increasing rank and ability re- 
quirements for their American compo- 
nents. Over-all control of planning for the 
ground forces was delegated to 21 Army 
Group in November, and the position of 
1st Army Group and First Army was also 
prescribed by COSSAC. 

The lines of operational control were 
also rapidly being withdrawn from 
ETOUSA. Theoretically ETOUSA was 
to retain operational control of all U.S. 
units until the Supreme Commander re- 
ceived his directive in February 1944. But 
real control was rapidly slipping away to 
the Allied commands. First the naval 
command was withdrawn, and in mid- 
December the operational control of the 
Ninth Air Force also passed from it. The 
transfer of over-all control of U.S. forces 
from a strictly American command to an 
Allied command raised an obvious ques- 
tion: what was to be done with the organi- 

8 Organization and Command, I, 286-300. The 
development of the Allied command structure and 
the selection of the Supreme Commander are treated 
more comprehensively in Pogue, The Supreme Com- 



zation Headquarters, ETOUSA, and 
what was to be the command role of its 
commanding general? There remained 
the field of supply and administration, 
which was to be left under national com- 
manders. Furthermore, it was generally 
felt that some over-all U.S. headquarters 
should be maintained. The question of 
whether this headquarters should be 
ETOUSA was complicated by the intro- 
duction of the 1st Army Group, for it was 
assumed by some that the army group 
would become an over-all American 
GHQ, replacing ETOUSA. 

General Marshall made known his con- 
ception of what the eventual theater or- 
ganization should be in a letter to the 
ETOUSA commander in September. In 
it he laid down the principle that there 
should be a continuing over-all U.S. head- 
quarters, although he did not definitely 
settle whether it was to be Headquarters, 
ETOUSA, or an American GHQset up 
on the Continent. Further, the letter 
seemed specific in designating the army 
group as subordinate to ETOUSA or the 
GHQ, but the idea continued to persist in 
some ETOUSA circles that 1st Army 
Group eventually might become the 
GHQ. In any event it appears that the 
formation of any U.S. headquarters was 
to await the naming of the Supreme Com- 
mander. But by the time General Eisen- 
hower arrived in the United Kingdom 
steps were already under way to form the 
ETOUSA-SOS headquarters, which was 
maintained as theater headquarters. 

The new 1st Army Group's pretensions 
in the field of supply and administration 
had further complicated the whole ques- 
tion of theater organization. General 
Bradley had taken command of 1st Army 
Group on the assumption that his organi- 
zation was to take over direction of all 

planning for the operation, logistical as 
well as tactical. This was bound to produce 
a conflict with the SOS over the control of 
supply and administrative support of the 
armies, a conflict which carried over into 
the period of active operations on the 
Continent. 9 

For the time being ETOUSA resolved 
the dispute by delineating the planning 
responsibilties. It charged 1st Army Group 
with all planning for operations on the 
Continent by U.S. forces other than air, 
including administrative planning. The 
Commanding General, SOS, was in- 
structed to initiate such planning as was 
required by 1st Army Group, First Army, 
and the U.S. air forces for the logistical 
support of operations, and the SOS was 
also charged with planning the mounting 
of the operation. One point at least was 
settled in the field of administrative plan- 
ning in these developments of October 
and November: 1st Army Group was to 
control planning by the SOS for the oper- 
ation, but ETOUSA outranked 1st Army 
Group and could review the latter's plan. 

There now began an interplay among 
the various staffs involved in the command 
developments of late 1943 — 1st Army 
Group, ETOUSA, and the SOS— as to 
the disposition of the theater's functions. 
Both SOS and the 1st Army Group ap- 
peared desirous of taking over as many of 
these functions as possible. Apparently 
visualizing the declining role of Head- 
quarters, ETOUSA, General Devers re- 
quested the assignment as commanding 
general of 1st Army Group for himself, 
suggesting at the same time that supply 
and administration of the theater could be 
controlled most effectively by the army 
group. But General Devers did not receive 
this command. Upon General Eisen- 

9 Organization and Command, I, 306-1 1. 



hower's appointment as theater com- 
mander in December, Devers was given 
command of the North African theater 
and left the United Kingdom early in Jan- 
uary. Had he been given command of the 
army group it might have developed along 
the lines he indicated. 

With the impending transfer of tactical 
functions to the Allied command the fu- 
ture of ETOUSA headquarters seemed to 
depend on its role in the field of supply 
and administration. But it was also obvi- 
ous that in the administrative field 
ETOUSA soon would only be duplicating 
SOS functions, or would be relegated to a 
relatively minor position vis-a-vis the 
army group if over-all control of supply 
were turned over to the latter. That 
ETOUSA should continue to duplicate 
the activities of the SOS was obviously in- 
advisable. The main question to be re- 
solved, therefore, was whether there should 
be an over-all control of supply and ad- 
ministration from a theater headquarters 
with a deputy commander for supply and 
administration, or from the field force 
headquarters — in essence, whether SOS 
or army group should exercise the control. 
It seems almost inconceivable now that the 
transfer of these functions should have 
been contemplated. The SOS had carried 
on most of the supply planning which had 
been done for Overlord, and was at the 
time the main agency carrying on active 
supply and administrative activities in the 
theater. Nevertheless there were at this 
time three possible solutions to the ques- 
tion of future theater organization and the 
fate of Headquarters, ETOUSA: General 
Devers' conception, with 1st Army Group 
as the main headquarters; the formation 
of an over-all GHQ; and the continuation 
of a theater headquarters by consolidation 
with the SOS. 

The commanding general of ETOUSA 
was still in a position to decide what the 
future organization was to be, and it was 
the last solution which was to win out — a 
consolidated ETOUSA-SOS, with the 
over-all direction of supply and adminis- 
tration from that headquarters. Con- 
fronted with the loss of its tactical func- 
tions, the ETOUSA staff naturally pre- 
ferred what amounted to absorption by 
the SOS to delegation of most supply and 
administrative functions to the army 

The final solution was not arrived at as 
directly as logic seemed to dictate. But it 
was crystal clear in all minds that the or- 
ganization known as ETOUSA was soon 
to lose all tactical functions, concerning 
both planning and operations; and it be- 
came increasingly clear to all that the 
ETOUSA and SOS headquarters were 
maintaining many officers doing approxi- 
mately the same work and producing a 
great deal of delay and confusion in staff 
channels. The division of functions and 
duplication of work were acutely sum- 
marized by the ETOUSA adjutant gen- 
eral, Brig. Gen. Ralph Pulsifer. In a mem- 
orandum to the chief of staff in November, 
he pointed out that of the six major re- 
sponsibilities of the theater commander 
the SOS was performing two, First Army 
one, 1st Army Group another, and the re- 
mainder were divided between SOS and 
ETOUSA with "exceedingly indistinct 
lines of demarcation." In discharging the 
divided responsibilities the SOS was using 
some 750 officers and ETOUSA 400. 10 An 
indication of the trend of thinking is pro- 
vided by the fact that some ETOUSA staff 
officers who had previously opposed con- 
solidation now began to urge it. 

10 Memo, Pulsifer for Brig Gen David Barr, 17 Nov 
43, as cited in Organization and Command, I, 320. 



During the closing weeks of 1943 the 
staffs of SOS, ETOUSA, and 1st Army 
Group all considered the problem of divi- 
sion of functions in the theater, and nu- 
merous memorandums were written and 
many conferences held on the subject. An 
increasing number of voices began to 
argue for consolidation. One of the most 
cogent summaries of the problem was pre- 
sented by Brig. Gen. Henry B. Lewis, the 
adjutant general of 1st Army Group, in a 
memorandum to the G-l of the same 
headquarters on 16 December: 

There are two separate headquarters (ETO 
and SOS) with the same special staff. Al- 
though certain services are placed under the 
SOS, they remain ETO staff sections. The 
GG, SOS, is responsible for the coordination, 
supervision, operational control and direc- 
tion of these services, but he cannot issue in- 
structions in the name of the theater com- 
mander to accomplish these duties. He is au- 
thorized to issue instructions which will not 
"affect command responsibilities of com- 
manders." This appears to be a confusing 
and meaningless gesture since all military in- 
structions affect command responsibilities. 
As a result, observation indicates that often 
instructions are prepared by a service, ap- 
proved by the GG, SOS, and sent to ETO. 
There they may be approved and returned 
for issue by SOS, or issued by ETO itself. On 
the other hand they may be revised in ETO 
with or without concurrence of the service 
concerned or Headquarters, SOS, or simply 
disapproved. Informal correspondence (car- 
rier sheet) on detailed operation is conducted 
between SOS staff and services, and between 
ETO and SOS staffs, as well as through com- 
mand channels, entailing delay, by-passing 
and duplication. Such procedure appears to 
indicate a faulty division of responsibility 
between the two headquarters. 11 

The plans which were offered as solu- 
tions to the problem reveal clearly that a 
new conflict in the field of supply and ad- 
ministration was growing up to replace 
the old one between ETOUSA and the 

SOS. These two headquarters now ap- 
peared agreed that consolidation had be- 
come necessary, but they felt that the new 
headquarters should be the over-all co- 
ordinating agency in theater supply and 
administration and not subordinate to 
1st Army Group or a GHQ^ as the army 
group plans proposed. The feeling of 1st 
Army Group was that complete control of 
supply in the combat zone should be 
turned over to the field force headquarters 
and that the SOS (later the Communica- 
tions Zone) should not be superior to it in 
administrative matters. This conflict was 
to continue throughout the history of the 

For the time being the proponents of a 
combined ETOUSA-SOS won out, and 
the plan of reorganization as finally car- 
ried out favored ETOUSA-SOS as a 
higher headquarters than 1st Army 
Group. The plan was worked out in detail 
while General Devers was still command- 
ing the theater, but General Eisenhower 
had been kept fully advised on the pro- 
posed consolidation through General 
Smith, who had preceded the Supreme 
Commander to London, and it was finally 
made with his complete knowledge and 
approval. 12 The reorganization was an- 
nounced on 17 January, the day after 
Eisenhower's assumption of command. 
| {Chart 5)\ 

The general order announcing consoli- 
dation of the two headquarters appointed 
General Lee deputy commander of the 
theater for supply and administration in 
addition to his duties as Commanding 
General, SOS. As SOS commander his 

11 Memo, Gen Lewis, AG FUSAG ; for G-l 
FUSAG, 16 Dec 43, sub: Proposal for Realignment of 
Adm Procedure in this Theater, as cited in Organiza- 
tion and Command, I, 322. 

12 Interv with Gen Barker, OCMH. 


















<1 E 


« O M 


0_ .. 

si s 

5 5 

Q- »0 

O 5 



duties included command of the Commu- 
nications Zone, successor to SOS upon the 
commencement of operations, and con- 
tinued operation of administration and 
supply for U.S. forces in the United King- 
dom and on the Continent. To fulfill these 
duties General Lee was authorized to act 
in the name of the theater commander in 
all appropriate matters. General Smith, 
whom General Eisenhower had brought 
with him as chief of staff of SHAEF, was 
also named chief of staff of ETOUSA, 
while Colonel Lord was named ETOUSA 
deputy chief of staff in addition to his 
duties as chief of staff of SOS. The reor- 
ganization consolidated the separate staffs 
of ETOUSA and SOS into one theater 
staff with the customary general and spe- 
cial staff sections, thus eliminating the 
duplication of work in the two head- 
quarters on supply and administrative 
problems. 13 

The consolidation resulted in an inter- 
esting and somewhat complicated organ- 
ization. While the two headquarters were 
officially consolidated, the fiction was kept 
up of the existence of two separate head- 
quarters. As Commanding General, SOS, 
General Lee published general orders, cir- 
culars, and directives to SOS installations 
(mainly the base sections). As deputy 
commander of the theater he issued direc- 
tives applying to the theater as a whole. 
Of particular significance was the au- 
thority which the SOS now possessed to 
issue its administrative instructions in 
ETOUSA circulars without infringing on 
the sovereignty of other commands, as it 
had in the past. And while there no longer 
were two headquarters, staff officers 
now acted in a dual capacity — for both 
ETOUSA and the SOS. 14 

Temporarily at least, the consolidation 
settled the position of ETOUSA-SOS as 

the over-all U.S. administrative head- 
quarters in the ETO, though the possibility 
still remained that an American GHQat 
SHAEF might take over administrative 
functions once continental operations be- 
gan. As it turned out, the January settle- 
ment endured. The decision to continue 
the already existing ETOUSA headquar- 
ters as the highest U.S. echelon in the the- 
ater was an important one and gave con- 
tinuity to the administrative setup, though 
in the end it was to place the theater head- 
quarters in a somewhat peculiar position. 
Theoretically the consolidation placed the 
new headquarters and General Lee as the 
deputy theater commander in a position 
to control all supply and administration in 
the theater, and to this extent it was a 
triumph for General Lee's ideas on central- 
ization of those functions. But the fact that 
this theater headquarters consisted almost 
entirely of officers from the old SOS staff 
also left it in the position of being a head- 
quarters co-ordinate with the 1st Army 
Group and the air forces, and the latter 
resented looking to it as a higher head- 
quarters. Furthermore, being physically 
separated from the theater commander, 
who was resident at SHAEF, the old 
ETOUSA-SOS group was to have some 
difficulty in asserting its authority, for 
ground and air commanders were inclined 
to look to SHAEF as the next highest 
command echelon. Although the consoli- 
dation thus brought new complications in 
its train, the old conflict between 
ETOUSA and the SOS had ended and 
the theater entered a new period. While 
the transformation was in part the culmi- 
nation of the struggle dating from the ori- 
gins of the theater, the formation of the 

13 Organization and Command, II, 1-3. 
"Ibid. ,11, 4-5. 



Allied high command had finally forced a 
complete alteration in the nature and 
functions of the theater command, which 
was now to be subordinate to Supreme 
Headquarters. The SOS component of the 
new headquarters had at the same time 
achieved what it had always regarded as 
its rightful position and function. 15 

A concomitant to this reorganization of 
ETOUSA was the almost simultaneous 
transformation of COSSAC into SHAEF 
on 15 January 1944. Four weeks later, on 
12 February, General Eisenhower received 
the formal directive on his duties as Su- 
preme Commander. This climactic devel- 
opment of the Allied high command had 
a profound effect on the position of 
ETOUSA headquarters, since from this 
point onward SHAEF was to exercise con- 
trol of all tactical planning and operations, 
except for strategic bombing. It left 
ETOUSA headquarters in a position 
quite different from the one it had had for 
the past year and a half. Fundamental to 
the new setup was the fact that the official 
ETOUSA headquarters was not in prac- 
tice the headquarters of the theater com- 
mander, General Eisenhower, who re- 
sided at SHAEF. And while the ETOUSA 
general and special staffs were in theory 
his staffs, they actually were General Lee's, 
and they functioned for him in the supply 
and administrative field. General Eisen- 
hower could of course call on them di- 
rectly for advice, but he normally operated 
on the Allied level at SHAEF and there- 
fore operated mainly through the SHAEF 
staff. The many high-ranking U.S. officers 
on this staff, organized on the principle of 
opposite numbers, tended to drift into 
what ETOUSA thought was its territory. 
The theater commander was at SHAEF 
and the major decisions were made there. 
For U.S. forces, SHAEF in some ways, 

especially on tactical matters, supplanted 
the old theater headquarters. 16 

In the field of supply and administra- 
tion General Eisenhower had delegated 
his functions to General Lee as the deputy 
theater commander. ETOUSA-SOS also 
remained the theater commander's vehicle 
of communications with the War Depart- 
ment on administrative matters, and the 
authorizing agency for the activation of all 
American commands which were to op- 
erate under SHAEF. It was the one U.S. 
organization not under the command con- 
trol of SHAEF, but it was nevertheless 
under the control of General Eisenhower 
as theater commander. 

If this setup is difficult to understand, 
some consolation may perhaps be derived 
from the knowledge that it was not always 
completely understood by the people in- 
volved in it and that in practice it often 
became somewhat difficult to operate. 
After the invasion there was a tendency 
for SHAEF to assume more and more the 
aspect of an American theater headquar- 
ters as well as an Allied one, and for Gen- 
eral Lee's headquarters gradually to be- 
come a purely Communications Zone 
headquarters. But during the preparatory 
phase, froin January to June, the consoli- 
dated ETOUSA-SOS headquarters was 
definitely the theater headquarters, su- 
preme in the supply and administrative 
field under the direction of the deputy 
theater commander. 

Certain wrinkles had to be ironed out 
before the consolidated ETOUSA-SOS 
headquarters could function smoothly. 
The two staffs had to be integrated, for 
example, At first the general staff of the 
new headquarters contained a mixture of 

15 Ibid,, I, 328. 
™ Ibid., II, 8. 



ETOUSA and SOS officers. There were 
some changes in the next few months, 
however, and the consolidated headquar- 
ters then achieved a stability in personnel 
which it had not previously enjoyed, for 
there had been constant shifting in the 
preceding year. The special staff had al- 
ready been functioning for the most part 
under the SOS and continued without im- 
portant changes. For the first time the in- 
tegrated general staff could be set up in 
closer accord with standard staff organiza- 
tion and procedures as set down in army 
manuals. Proper co-ordination of func- 
tions had been impossible under the old 
organization where they were divided be- 
tween two or more headquarters. The new 
consolidated arrangement proved a much 
more satisfactory one for handling the 
supply and administrative affairs of the 
theater, and in the United Kingdom at 
least the central command for supply and 
administration appeared a sound and log- 
ical arrangement. The larger problem to 
be faced was that of transferring this or- 
ganization to the Continent and adapting 
it to conditions where the field forces were 
operating in combat. 17 

One other reorganization and the acti- 
vation of an additional combat command 
must be considered to complete the treat- 
ment of the U.S. command structure as it 
stood at the end of January 1944. Concur- 
rently with the theater reorganization the 
air forces underwent a very similar trans- 
formation. When General Eisenhower 
went to the United Kingdom in January, 
the need had arisen for an over-all strate- 
gic bombing command to control opera- 
tions from both the United Kingdom and 
Italy. A command known as the United 
States Strategic Air Forces (USSTAF) was 
formed, made up of the Eighth Air Force 
in England (now under Maj. Gen. James 

H. Doolittle) and the Fifteenth Air Force in 
the Mediterranean (Maj. Gen. Nathan F. 
Twining). USSTAF also took over admin- 
istrative control of the Ninth, and thus 
completely replaced the headquarters 
known as USAAFUK. Command of the 
new over-all U.S. air organization went to 
Lt. Gen. Carl Spaatz, who had served as 
top airman in the Mediterranean and 
whom General Eisenhower had taken with 
him to the United Kingdom. General 
Eaker went to North Africa with General 
Devers. USSTAF now became the top 
command of the American air forces in 
the theater, controlling the Eighth for op- 
erations and administration, the Ninth for 
administration, and the Fifteenth for op- 
erations. The Fifteenth maintained its 
own administrative organization in the 
North African theater. General Eisen- 
hower, as Supreme Commander, had con- 
trol of all the Allied tactical air forces 
through the AEAF, but he did not yet 
have control over strategic bombing and 
its co-ordination with the land forces for 
Overlord, although as theater com- 
mander he of course controlled USSTAF. 
The strategic bombing campaign (Opera- 
tion Pointblank) was still being directed 
through the Combined Chiefs of Staff. 

Within the over-all air force command 
a division of function between supply and 
operations was now effected comparable 
to the changes at the ETOUSA level. The 
VIII Air Force Service Command had 
been in much the same position with rela- 
tion to the Eighth Air Force and 
USAAFUK as the SOS had been with 
relation to ETOUSA. Brig. Gen. Hugh J. 
Knerr, the commander of the Air Service 
Command, had been striving for the same 
type of organization which General Lee 

17 Organization and Command, II, 18-20. 



had been seeking for the SOS. Like Gen- 
eral Lee, he had already succeeded in 
transferring the A-4 and special staff sec- 
tions from USAAFUK to the Air Service 
Command, and he now succeeded in 
bringing about a centralization of supply 
and administrative function similar to that 
effected in ETOUSA-SOS. Headquarters, 
USSTAF v was now organized under two 
deputy commanding generals, one for op- 
erations and one for administration and 
logistics, the latter position being held by 
General Knerr. Like General Lee, Gen- 
eral Knerr continued in a dual position, as 
deputy commanding general of USSTAF 
(for administration and logistics) and as 
commanding general of the Air Service 
Command. The VIII Air Force Service 
Command headquarters, which had also 
served as the Air Service Command head- 
quarters for USAAFUK, now served as 
the headquarters for the USSTAF Air 
Service Command. 18 

Meanwhile, another major combat 
command was to be added to the U.S. or- 
ganizational structure. American ground 
force organization in January included 
only the 1st Army Group and the First 
Army. In order to complete the headquar- 
ters necessary for the invasion it was neces- 
sary to introduce another army headquar- 
ters into the United Kingdom, since 1st 
Army Group was scheduled to control two 
U.S. armies when it became operational. 
This second army headquarters was the 
Third U.S. Army (TUSA), which was con- 
stituted late in January at Knutsford in 
Western Base Section under the command 
of Lt. Gen. George S. Patton. The haste 
with which the Third Army was activated 
was indicative of the speed with which 
new divisions were pouring in, and of the 
need for an additional army headquarters 
to administer them as well as to initiate 

planning for the operations in which it 
was scheduled to take part when 1 st Army 
Group became operational. Third Army 
was soon busily at work under the super- 
vision of the army group. With its activa- 
tion the combat command organization of 
U.S. forces for Overlord was virtually 
complete. 19 

(3 ) Assignment of Command and Planning 

One of the major factors in the evolu- 
tion of the organizational structure for 
Overlord was the growing necessity to 
assign command responsibilities and get 
on with the detailed planning for the op- 
eration. By the end of January 1944 the 
command plan at the top Allied and na- 
tional levels was almost complete, al- 
though important additions and changes 
were made later. On the tactical side the 
Supreme Command (SHAEF), through 
its subcommands AEAF, ANCXF, and 21 
Army Group, was to exercise complete 
control of the operation with the one ex- 
ception of strategic bombing. General 
Eisenhower desired that strategic bombing 
also be brought under his control in order 
to co-ordinate it with ground operations 
in Overlord. Although he met with some 
opposition in this endeavor he was finally 
given command of the strategic air forces 
in April. 20 

In the meantime COSSAC had also 
worked out the method by which the tac- 
tical command would operate in the suc- 
ceeding stages of continental operations. 
Plans made in November 1943 provided 
for joint responsibility for planning and 
operations by the commanders in chief of 

18 Ibid., II, 21-25. 

19 Ibid., II, 40-43. 

20 Organization and Command, II, 28-29. 



AEAF, ANCXF, and 21 Army Group 
(usually known as the joint commanders), 
and provided that the initial assault was 
to be carried out under the command of 
the First U.S. Army, with the necessary 
British or Canadian units attached. A 
British army was to become operational 
when British units had been sufficiently 
built up, at which time the 21 Army 
Group was to take over control of the op- 
eration. When the number of U.S. forces 
justified the introduction of a second 
American army headquarters, 1st Army 
Group was to assume active direction of 
U.S. forces, responsible directly to SHAEF. 

This plan was later amended and am- 
plified in several respects. The increase in 
the size of the assaulting forces eliminated 
the stage during which the First U.S. 
Army was to control the operation. A sec- 
ond command directive in January stipu- 
lated that a British army headquarters 
would be operational from the beginning, 
controlling its own troops, with command 
of the two armies resting with 21 Army 
Group. The 1st Army Group was to take 
over active direction of American forces 
when the build-up justified the introduc- 
tion of a second American army head- 
quarters. In general these were the com- 
mand lines as they eventually were fol- 
lowed. 21 

Fixing the command lines in adminis- 
trative matters was more difficult. SHAEF 
first outlined them in detail in a letter of 
instructions to the joint commanders in 
March. In accordance with tactical com- 
mand arrangements, 21 Army Group was 
charged with command of all ground 
forces engaged in the operation until such 
time as the Supreme Command assigned 
an area of responsibility to the 1st U.S. 
Army Group. In this initial period the 
First U.S. Army and the necessary service 

troops organized as an advance communi- 
cations zone section were to be attached to 
21 Army Group, and 1st U.S. Army Group 
was to furnish a staff to the British army 
group to provide for their administration. 
The Commander-in-Chief, 21 Army 
Group, was to have over-all direction of 
the line of communications until 1st Army 
Group was allotted an area, and was re- 
sponsible for the logistic support of all the 
forces under his command. The initial de- 
velopment of the American communica- 
tions zone 22 was therefore to be under the 
21 Army Group. 

There were to be three stages in the evo- 
lution of command. The 21 Army Group 
was to be the directing ground force head- 
quarters in the first two phases. In the first 
or assault phase, however, the First U.S. 
Army and the Second British Army were 
to operate somewhat independently and 
handle their own logistic affairs. In the 
second phase the 21 Army Group was to 
take active control of tactical operations 
and of administrative and supply opera- 
tions, exercising control of the latter 
through the attached staffs of 1st Army 
Group and the deputy commander of the 
Communications Zone. In the third phase 
the 1st Army Group was to be allotted an 
area of responsibility and SHAEF was to 
assume active direction of the two army 
groups. 23 

The assignment of planning responsibil- 
ities generally corresponded to the division 
of command described above, although 
this proved more difficult in the adminis- 
trative field than in the operational. Since 
administrative matters were to be handled 
as far as possible through national agen- 

21 Ibid., II, 29-32. 

22 All the territory in the theater outside of the com- 
bat zone — that is, back of the army rear boundary. 

23 Organization and Command, II, 32-35. 



cies, they involved ETOUSA command 
channels as well as SHAEF. Administra- 
tive planning for the combat zone obvi- 
ously belonged with the headquarters re- 
sponsible for such a zone, but there still 
remained the question of the communica- 
tions zone and of over-all administrative 
planning for the U.S. zone as a whole, 
which was the responsibility of ETOUSA. 
Complicating the whole problem was 
General Lee's dual position as deputy the- 
ater commander and commander of the 

At the Allied level SHAEF acted as the 
over-all co-ordinating headquarters, de- 
termining interservice and inter-Allied 
administrative policy, but leaving the de- 
tailed implementation of its decisions to 
its subcommands and national agencies. 
It was to allocate material resources in 
short supply, co-ordinate policies on req- 
uisitioning and purchasing, determine 
policy on petroleum supply, co-ordinate 
movement and shipping, and in general 
determine Allied administrative and logis- 
tic policy. COSSAC had already laid 
down policy on planning in these various 
fields in the fall of 1943. 24 

A more active and direct role in admin- 
istrative planning was to be played by 
SHAEF's ground force subcommand, 21 
Army Group. As the highest ground force 
command in the early stages of the opera- 
tion, 2 1 Army Group was also the highest 
administrative headquarters for U.S. 
forces. It discharged its responsibilities in 
administrative matters by delegating cer- 
tain functions to 1st Army Group and the 
First Army in planning for the various 
stages of the operation. First Army, as the 
highest U.S. headquarters on the Conti- 
nent initially, was to be in undisputed 
charge of planning and operations, includ- 
ing the logistical, for the first two or three 

weeks on the Continent. Planning in ad- 
ministrative matters from that time for- 
ward was the responsibility of the 1st Army 
Group, which was to supervise the plan- 
ning by the SOS for the early development 
of the communications zone. 

ETOUSA-SOS had to be brought into 
the picture, since it was to be responsible 
for the detailed development of the com- 
munications zone and over-all logistical 
planning for maintenance of all U.S. 
forces. ETOUSA-SOS had enormous re- 
sponsibilities in connection with the forth- 
coming operation. It was already opera- 
tional in a sense that the ground forces 
were not, for it was deeply engaged in the 
logistic build-up in the United Kingdom, 
receiving and stockpiling supplies, operat- 
ting ports, railways, and depots, quarter- 
ing troops, and performing a multitude of 
other administrative duties. The SOS was 
also given the task of mounting the inva- 
sion force in southern England — that is, 
marshaling troops, moving them to the 
embarkation points, and loading them. 
Once the operation was launched, the 
SOS had to provide support from the 
United Kingdom for all U.S. forces on the 
Continent and arrange for continued sup- 
port from the United Kingdom, the 
United States, and other sources. At the 
same time it had to be prepared to move 
from the United Kingdom to the Conti- 
nent and organize the lines of communi- 
cations there without interruption in its 
normal services. Fitting this ETOUSA- 
SOS organization into the planning setup 
of 1st Army Group and 21 Army Group 
and defining its future role on the Conti- 
nent proved to be one of the biggest organ- 
izational and command problems still 

24 Ltr, Col Frank M. Albrecht to OCMH, 29 
Jun 51. 



The SOS was to be redesignated Com- 
munications Zone upon the launching of 
the invasion. The change denoted the 
shift from operating what was essentially 
an extension of the zone of interior in the 
United Kingdom to providing logistical 
support for combat operations on the Con- 
tinent. Toward the end of February the 
term Communications Zone, or COMZ, 
came into increasing use in reference to 
the SOS, although the redesignation was 
not official until the time of the invasion. 
The new name actually appeared on let- 
terheads as early as 21 February and came 
into general use at that time without ben- 
efit of christening through official orders. 

While 21 Army Group was responsible 
for the final co-ordination of planning for 
the combined forces, it delegated the plan- 
ning task for U.S. forces to 1st Army 
Group, the highest American field force 
headquarters. In mid-January COSSAC 
instructed the army group to attach a 
U.S. administrative staff to 21 Army 
Group headquarters to accomplish this 
planning and to carry out the administra- 
tion of U.S. forces under 21 Army Group 
control. Shortly thereafter Brig. Gen. Ray- 
mond G. Moses, the 1st Army Group G-4, 
was designated Deputy Major General of 
Administration, 21 Army Group, and took 
the entire 1st Army Group G-4 Section 
with him to General Montgomery's head- 
quarters, where the U.S. staff was to work 
closely with its opposite number, the 
British administrative staff. 

ETOUSA-SOS representation was not 
immediately provided for, and General 
Lee therefore urged immediate assignment 
of an SOS liaison group to this staff, stat- 
ing that full logistical support could be 
provided and co-ordination of communi- 
cations zone activities with those of the 
armies could be insured only by co-oper- 

GENERAL MOSES, G-4 of the 1st (later 
the 12th ) Army Group. 

ating closely during the planning period. 
Since the mission of the U.S. staff at 21 
Army Group was one of co-ordination 
rather than detailed planning, and since 
the army, air, and communications zone 
commanders were to draw up their own 
administrative and logistical plans, it was 
initially felt at 1st Army Group that a 
small representation by the SOS at 21 
Army Group would be enough to resolve 
any problems arising between the head- 
quarters. It soon developed, however, that 
mere representation and liaison would not 
suffice to co-ordinate the planning of the 
various organizations. Early in February 
Generals Lee, Bradley, Smith, and Colo- 
nel Lord conferred at SHAEF and 
reached a decision on the matter of SOS 
participation in the planning at 21 Army 
Group. SHAEF issued a directive on 9 
February which not only specified the 



part which the SOS was to have in the 
planning at 21 Army Group, but also de- 
fined for the first time the command rela- 
tionship between 1st Army Group and the 
Communications Zone, a subject of con- 
siderable controversy for some time there- 
after. For this reason the directive is a 
basic document in any consideration of 
the U.S. administrative command organi- 

In it SHAEF stated that General Lee, 
as deputy theater commander, was ex of- 
ficio chief U.S. administrative officer and 
as such was available to SHAEF on all 
U.S. administrative matters. More impor- 
tant for the future administrative organ- 
ization, a planning staff from ETOUSA- 
SOS was to be attached to 21 Army 
Group for the initial planning of the com- 
munications zone. General Lee was to 
designate a deputy commander of the 
communications zone with an adequate 
staff to plan, develop, and operate the 
U.S. communications zone on the Con- 
tinent. This staff was to remain attached 
to 21 Army Group until such time as an 
area of responsibility on the Continent 
was assigned to 1st Army Group by the 
Supreme Commander. At that time the 
Communications Zone was to be attached 
to the 1st Army Group headquarters. 
Eventually, when the Supreme Com- 
mander established an advance echelon of 
the theater headquarters on the Conti- 
nent, the deputy commander of the Com- 
munications Zone and his staff were to 
come under the command of Headquar- 
ters, ETOUSA. 25 

(4) Forward Echelon, Communications J^pne 

The SHAEF directive was the charter 
for the activation of a new organization 

known as Forward Echelon, Communica- 
tions Zone (FECOMZ). The creation of 
Forward Echelon was dictated in part by 
the need for an agency which could plan 
the development of the communications 
zone on the Continent and co-ordinate 
that planning with the top U.S. and 
Allied field force headquarters. In part it 
was dictated by the command require- 
ments of Overlord, which called for an 
executive agency to assume active direc- 
tion of the communications zone's de- 
velopment and operations until Head- 
quarters, Communications Zone, itself 
could move to the Continent. Its role on 
the Continent was eventually altered by 
events, but in planning the development 
of the communications zone Forward 
Echelon was to make an important con- 
tribution to Operation Overlord. 

Forward Echelon was already in being 
when SHAEF issued its directive on 
9 February. ETOUSA had activated 
the organization two days before, and 
General Lee had chosen CoL Frank M. 
Albrecht, who had been in charge of U.S. 
logistical planning with the Norfolk 
House group in 1943, to organize the 
group. Colonel Albrecht gathered the per- 
sonnel for the new staff and within ten 
days got planning under way at his head- 
quarters in the John Lewis Building on 
Oxford Street, London. A month later, on 
14 March 1944, a Deputy Commander, 
Communications Zone, was appointed as 
required by the SHAEF directive, the as- 
signment going to Brig. Gen. Harry B. 
Vaughan, Jr., commanding general of 
Western Base Section. 26 Colonel Albrecht 

25 Organization and Command, II, 44-50. The di- 
rective under discussion, Ltr, SHAEF to Chiefs of all 
Divs SHAEF, 9 Feb 44, is quoted in full on page 50. 

26 Not to be confused with Maj. Gen. Harry H. 
Vaughan, who later served as military aide to Presi- 
dent Truman. 



was officially appointed chief of staff of 
Forward Echelon and continued to be an 
active director of the new staff's planning 

As a planning echelon of ETOUSA- 
SOS, Forward Echelon was organized 
with staff sections paralleling those of its 
parent headquarters. In effect it consisted 
of the planning echelon of the SOS, its 
staff comprising the planners from each of 
the SOS staff sections. Throughout its his- 
tory, furthermore, it was inseparably asso- 
ciated with the ETOUSA-SOS headquar- 
ters, not only drawing on its staff for 
personnel, but utilizing ETOUSA-SOS 
agencies wherever feasible, and carrying 
out its planning in closest consultation 
with and with constant aid from the 
ETOUSA-SOS staff sections. It even- 
tually had a strength of approximately 
460 officers and men. 27 Although it was 
not intended to be a separate command, 
Forward Echelon was set up to act as an 
operating echelon of Headquarters, Com- 
munications Zone, when the time came to 
assume direction of the communications 
zone on the Continent. 

The duties of Forward Echelon were 
further outlined in a letter from the SOS 
commander on 21 February. In general, 
its mission was to perform and supervise 
both planning and operations in connec- 
tion with communications zone activities 
for the entire Overlord period in close 
consultation with the 21 Army Group and 
1st Army Group administrative staffs. Its 
tasks varied, however, in the three stages 
through which the development of admin- 
istrative responsibilities were expected to 
pass. In Phase I — D Day to D plus 15 or 
20 — the First U.S. Army was to have com- 
plete tactical and administrative control 
in the U.S. zone on the Continent, with 
an Advance Section of the Communica- 

tions Zone attached to provide its logistic 
support. In Phase II — D plus 15 to 41 — 
the Advance Section was to be detached 
from the army and independently was to 
undertake the initial development of the 
communications zone. In both these 
phases Forward Echelon was to be en- 
gaged mainly in supervising the work of 
the Advance Section. It was to assume di- 
rect control and operation of communica- 
tions zone activities in Phase III — D plus 
41 to 90 — and was responsible for the de- 
tailed planning of supply operations for 
that period. Forward Echelon was to plan 
only for the communications zone; 1st 
Arjny Group was responsible for the 
combat zone. 

The division of the Overlord period 
into three phases was determined bas- 
ically by estimates on the progress of the 
operation. D plus 15 or 20, marking the 
end of Phase I, was the approximate date 
at which the planners calculated that it 
would no longer be convenient or desir- 
able for First Army to control logistic op- 
erations in the base area, and the date at 
which Advance Section should therefore 
begin to organize the communications 
zone. By D plus 41 the build-up of U.S. 
forces on the Continent and the advance 
inland were scheduled to have progressed 
sufficiently to warrant the introduction of 
a second army and an army group head- 
quarters. In addition, the lodgment by 
that time was expected to be large enough 
to require the forward displacement of the 
Advance Section and the introduction of 
a base section to take over the port areas. 
The Forward Echelon of the Communica- 
tions Zone would then have to be estab- 
lished as a supervisory headquarters. 
D plus 90 was the date by which the 

27 Interv with Col Albrecht, 5 Jul 51, OGMH. 



Overlord operation was to have been 
completed, and the earliest date by which 
it was thought feasible to move either 
SHAEF or the GOMZ headquarters to 
the Continent. 

Since ETOUSA-SOS contemplated 
that Forward Echelon would eventually 
move to the Continent and supervise com- 
munications zone activities there, it was 
established in physically separate head- 
quarters, placed under a general officer, 
and attached to Headquarters, 21 Army 
Group, where it was to work with the 1st 
Army Group administrative staff. With 
the establishment of the 1st Army Group 
and FECOMZ staffs at 21 Army Group 
the U.S. forces received the representation 
which they needed at the highest Allied 
ground force headquarters for the co-ordi- 
nation of logistical and tactical plans in 
the period of 21 Army Group control. 

It was characteristic of the entire history 
of the theater that directives on command 
and organization always seemed to fall 
short of clear-cut definitions of responsi- 
bility and authority, leaving much room 
for contention. True to form, the estab- 
lishment of the 1st Army Group and 
COMZ staff organizations at 21 Army 
Group immediately resulted in disputes 
over their relationship during the plan- 
ning period and also over their command 
relationship after the Communications 
Zone became operative on the Continent. 
The latter problem in particular was to be 
in doubt for some time, partly because of 
the different concepts which the two head- 
quarters held regarding their roles and au- 
thority, and partly because of conflicting 
interpretations of the SHAEF directive of 
9 February. The theater's complicated 
and unprecedented command arrange- 
ments, growing out of General Eisen- 
hower's dual role and the position of the 

various Allied commands, and to a lesser 
degree personal ambitions and distrust, 
contributed to this conflict. 

Fundamentally, the issue throughout 
was clear: who was to be responsible for 
over-all co-ordination of logistic support, 
both in planning and actual operations? 
Forward Echelon, as a creature of the con- 
solidated ETOUSA-SOS headquarters 
reflected the ETOUSA point of view and 
tended to assert the over-all position of the 
theater headquarters. Forward Echelon 
was conceived of as independent and 
paramount in its own field (that is, plan- 
ning for the communications zone) at 21 
Army Group and not subject to the super- 
vision of 1st Army Group. General Lee 
outlined this view in a draft letter to the 
deputy commanding general, stating that 
the relationship between the latter's head- 
quarters and 1st Army Group was to be 
one of mutual co-operation and co-ordi- 
nation, and that ETOUSA was respon- 
sible for supervising the staff branches and 
services of subordinate organizations, in- 
cluding 1st Army Group. Lee toned down 
this claim somewhat in the final version 
of this letter, admitting that the staff sec- 
tion of 1st Army Group at 21 Army Group 
headquarters was to exercise the required 
over-all general staff co-ordination be- 
tween activities in the army areas and 
activities in the communications zone. He 
stated nevertheless that in order to pro- 
vide for suitable channels of technical 
supervision in the theater as a whole the 
special staffs of 1st Army Group and For- 
ward Echelon should carry out normal 
special staff functions in the army area 
and communications zone respectively. 28 

The halfhearted recognition of 1st 
Army Group's over-all co-ordinating posi- 

28 Organization and Command, II, 50-56; Interv 
with Gen Moses, 13 Aug 51. 



tion did not satisfy the field forces. Gen- 
eral Bradley, commanding 1st Army 
Group, believed it vital for the highest 
field force headquarters on the Continent 
to retain control of the communications 
zone in the interim period between the 
date on which 21 Army Group relin- 
quished control and the time SHAEF ar- 
rived to take over-all command. The 
SHAEF directive had not been entirely 
clear on this point. It appeared to estab- 
lish the army group's position clearly by 
stating that the Communications Zone 
would be attached to 1st Army Group 
when the latter was assigned an appro- 
priate tactical command. But the directive 
went on to say that the deputy com- 
mander of the Communications Zone 
would come under the command of Head- 
quarters, ETQUSA, when the Supreme 
Commander established an advance 
echelon of the latter on the Continent. 
General Bradley was not satisfied with the 
wording of the directive, fearing that the 
term, "advance echelon of ETO," might 
mean a forward echelon of the ETOUSA- 
SOS headquarters of General Lee. He be- 
lieved the directive might therefore be 
interpreted to mean that the establish- 
ment of a small advance echelon of that 
headquarters (such as FECOMZ, pre- 
sumably) on the Continent would be suf- 
ficient justification for removal of control 
of the communications zone from the 
commanding general, 1st Army Group, 
thereby depriving him of the necessary 
means of co-ordinating all ground forces 
in the U.S. sector before another com- 
mander was prepared to take over such 

The army group commander promptly 
sought clarification of this matter from the 
SHAEF chief of staff, General Smith, stat- 
ing that it was his understanding that the 

Communications Zone was to be attached 
to 1st Army Group when the command- 
ing general of 21 Army Group relinquished 
command of U.S. forces, and that the 
Communications Zone would be de- 
tached from the army group only when 
the Supreme Commander himself as- 
sumed direct command of the ground 
forces on the Continent. General Smith 
assured him that his understanding was 
correct and that by "advance echelon of 
ETO" the directive meant an advance 
echelon of SHAEF. It seemed clear, then, 
that 1st Army Group would direct the ac- 
tivities of the Communications Zone until 
General Eisenhower himself assumed 
command on the Continent. However, the 
problem of the command relationship of 
1st Army Group vis-a-vis Communica- 
tions Zone was not put to rest with this as- 
surance, The issue was to be raised again, 
and the organization FECOMZ was al- 
ways regarded with some suspicion by the 
field force headquarters. 29 

There were continuing causes for ap- 
prehension on the part of 1st Army Group 
regarding the Communications Zone's 
pretensions to power. When General 
Vaughan was appointed deputy com- 
manding general of that organization in 
March a new directive was issued defining 
the mission of the Forward Echelon but 
making no mention of the 1st Army 
Group attachment or the relationship be- 
tween the two staffs. It merely stated that 
Forward Echelon would be responsible 
for the initial planning and development 
of the Communications Zone under the 
direction of the commander-in-chief of 21 
Army Group, and announced definitely 
that, when an army rear boundary was 
drawn by the First Army, Forward 

29 Ibid., II, 50-52. 



Echelon would actually assume command 
of the Communications Zone on the Con- 
tinent for the period it was attached to 21 
Army Group. This wording again ap- 
peared to imply that Forward Echelon 
and the 1st Army Group staff at 21 Army 
Group headquarters were co-ordinate at- 
tachments, one for the Communications 
Zone and one for the field forces, with 1st 
Army Group exercising no supervision 
over the former. Some of the COMZ staff 
even conceived of Forward Echelon as a 
separate command and wanted it acti- 
vated provisionally as a separate head- 
quarters. General Lee, however, preferred 
the arrangement whereby Forward Ech- 
elon was to be a branch of his own head- 
quarters. As such it would have authority 
to issue orders in his name and, as a part 
of Headquarters, Communications Zone, 
a subcommand of ETOUSA, it would in 
the eyes of the Communications Zone at 
least enjoy equality with 1st Army Group. 
It was actually possible to conceive of the 
Forward Echelon as a headquarters even 
higher than 1st Army Group if viewed 
from General Lee's position as deputy 
theater commander. If such an exagger- 
ated interpretation was accepted, For- 
ward Echelon would be in a position to 
exercise even fuller powers in controlling 
the whole administrative organization on 
the Continent. 

Whatever thoughts General Lee may 
have held about separate command status 
for Forward Echelon, the idea persisted in 
some quarters that it did have such status, 
and SHAEF later had to correct this mis- 
taken notion. It clarified the organiza- 
tion's position by stating that the head- 
quarters was purely and simply what its 
name implied — a forward echelon of Gen- 
eral Lee's COMZ headquarters — and 
that General Vaughan, its chief, was not 

the commanding general of FECOMZ, 
but deputy commanding general of the 
Communications Zone. 30 

In retrospect the entire conflict takes on 
the appearance of a storm in a teacup. At 
the time, however, the points at issue had 
an urgent importance, particularly to the 
field forces, which lacked confidence in 
the Services of Supply and were anxious 
to insure that their interests would be 
protected so far as administrative support 
was concerned. Fortunately, the differ- 
ences did not prevent Forward Echelon 
from getting on with its main task, and by 
early March the staff was busy with the 
preparation of the over-all COMZ plan of 

(5) Advance Section, Communications %one 

Equally important as Forward Echelon 
in the planning of the continental com- 
munications zone and, as it turned out, of 
much greater importance in its opera- 
tions, was the organization known as the 
Advance Section (ADSEC). The concept 
of an advance section (as distinguished 
from a base section), organized to follow 
the armies, develop the lines of communi- 
cations, take over rear-area supply prob- 
lems, and co-ordinate these activities with 
the Communications Zone headquarters, 
was well established in field service regu- 
lations, and the need for such an organiza- 
tion was confirmed fay recent experience 
in North Africa and Italy. North African 
experience had shown that base sections 
could support armies only when the sup- 
ply lines were not too long . The Over- 
lord operation, if successful, would result 
in extended lines of communications. It 

30 Ibid., II, 53-60; Organization and Functions of 
the Communications Zone, Gen Bd Rpt 127, p. 14. 



GENERAL PLANK, Commanding Gen- 
eral, ADSEC. (Photograph taken in 1945.) 

would therefore be necessary at an early 
stage to create another section between 
the army and base section to provide close 

Experience in Italy had taught addi- 
tional lessons. In the invasion of the penin- 
sula an advance section had been 
organized and attached to the Fifth U.S. 
Army until the situation was stabilized at 
the Volturno River. But when this ad- 
vance section became Peninsular Base 
Section and reverted to Allied headquar- 
ters (AFHQ) control the same old diffi- 
culties arose. Again the agency capable of 
making decisions on matters of supply was 
too far from the army it was intended to 
support. Other difficulties arose from the 
fact that the agency responsible for supply 
operations was not the one which had 
done the logistical planning. When a tac- 
tical headquarters handled planning for 

an extended operation, it tended to neg- 
lect certain logistic aspects, such as the 
build-up of reserves and construction ma- 
terials, in favor of maintenance tonnages. 
Thus, the supply agency taking over from 
the army after the initial phase of the op- 
eration might find that it did not have 
the necessary supplies and equipment. 
This experience dictated that the service 
agency which was to take over support of 
an army must participate directly in the 
planning in order to assure well-co-ordi- 
nated and adequate logistical support. 

In keeping with this principle, 
COSSAC directed the establishment of an 
advance section in December 1943, and 
the organization was provisionally estab- 
lished under the command of Col. Ewart 
G. Plank, Eastern Base Section com- 
mander, at the end of the year. The official 
activation of Headquarters, Advance Sec- 
tion, followed on 7 February 1944, and the 
staff shortly thereafter moved to Bristol to 
facilitate close co-operation with the First 
Army. In the interim period a party of 
officers designated for the new staff visited 
Italy and North Africa to gather informa- 
tion on base section operations in the 
Mediterranean area. 31 

The initial mission of the Advance Sec- 
tion was to move onto the Continent with 
First Army in the earliest stages and suc- 
cessively take over army supply dumps, 
roads, ports, beach maintenance areas, 
and railways, operating the supply instal- 
lations in the rear of the combat zone until 
the communications zone was established. 
Until such time as an army rear bound- 
ary would be drawn, estimated to be be- 
tween D plus 15 and 20, Advance Section 

31 Operations History of the Advance Section, 
COM Z ETOUSA, prep by Hist Sec ADSEC, 1945, 
mimeo, p. 2, OCMH; Organization and Functions of 
the Communications Zone, Gen Bd Rpt 127, p. 32. 



was to be attached to First Army. By such 
attachment the Advance Section would 
thus be directly associated with the 
agency it was to supply and with which it 
was necessary to co-ordinate planning. 

Once the Advance Section was de- 
tached from the army, it was to perform 
its normal missions as the most advanced 
regional organization of the Communica- 
tions Zone. It was to take over area as well 
as supply responsibility immediately to 
the rear of the army, organizing the 
ground as it was relinquished by the 
armies, subsequently moving forward in 
the wake of the armies to organize new 
areas, and turning over territory, facilities, 
and installations in the rear to newly ac- 
tivated base or intermediate sections as 
they followed onto the Continent. In 
short, the Advance Section was to be what 
its name suggested, an advance subcom- 
mand of the Communications Zone in 
close support of the combat forces, provid- 
ing them an immediate source of supply. 

The Advance Section's planning tasks 
were determined by its responsibilities in 
the three phases of Overlord's command 
development: preparing for the support of 
First Army during the period of attach- 
ment to that organization (to D plus 15); 
carrying out all communications zone 
functions from the time the army rear 
boundary was drawn until the Forward 
Echelon took command of operations (D 
plus 1 5 to 4 1 ) ; and planning for the sub- 
sequent period when it was to operate, 
along with other base sections, under 
the Forward Echelon of Headquarters, 
Communications Zone. In defining the 
Advance Section's mission, however, a 
problem arose over the division of func- 
tion with Forward Echelon, since both 
were to be active in planning the initial 
development of the communications zone 

on the Continent. There was no question 
of conflicting authority or responsibility in 
the first phase of operations. It was clear 
that in this period there would be no 
COMZ command operating on the Con- 
tinent, for First Army, with Advance Sec- 
tion attached, was to be entirely respon- 
sible for all supply and administration. 
In the second phase, however — from the 
time an army rear boundary was drawn 
until a second army and another base sec- 
tion were introduced and 1st Army Group 
became operational — Advance Section 
was to be the operative Communications 
Zone on the Continent. For this period 
(D plus 15 to 41) it was obvious that Ad- 
vance Section would have to write de- 
tailed plans. But Forward Echelon had 
been charged with over-all development 
of the communications zone and, accord- 
ing to the directive of 2 1 January which 
defined its mission, was to supervise the 
planning and operations of the Advance 
Section in this period. 

Delineating the areas of planning re- 
sponsibilities between the two headquar- 
ters was the subject of much correspond- 
ence and many conferences from late Feb- 
ruary through April. The answers to most 
of Advance Section's questions were 
finally provided by a FECOMZ memo- 
randum in mid-April, after Forward Ech- 
elon had worked out planning and 
operational procedures with 21 Army 
Group, 1st Army Group, and ETOUSA- 
SOS. First Army, as the command which 
was to be in complete control of operations 
and supply in Phase I, was to assemble 
tonnage and supply requirements for all 
U.S. forces, including field forces, air 
forces, and the Navy, and submit them to 
ETOUSA for implementation. Thereafter 
1st Army Group was to be the top U.S. 
field headquarters on the Continent, de- 



termining and assembling over-all ton- 
nages and supply requirements. In the 
stage between the drawing of an army 
rear boundary and the time that 1st Army 
Group itself assumed an active role on the 
Continent (D plus 15 to 41), 1st Army 
Group was to arrange for implementation 
of its requirements with ETOUSA 
through Advance Section. It was in this 
period (Phase II) that Advance Section 
was to have its heaviest responsibilities, for 
as the sole subcommand of the Communi- 
cations Zone on the far shore it was to be 
charged with the actual operation of the 
communications zone facilities on the 
Continent. Advance Section was to de- 
velop detailed plans for this stage, there- 
fore, with Forward Echelon exercising 
supervision. The latter's command role in 
this stage was not yet determined. How- 
ever, it was to arrange for the build-up of 
the communications zone and the intro- 
duction of additional base sections, just as 
1st Army Group was to arrange for the 
build-up of the combat zone and the 
introduction of additional armies. 32 
* In Phase III (D plus 41 to 90), 1st Army 
Group was to continue to assemble the 
over-all tonnage requirements but was to 
implement them through Forward Ech- 
elon rather than Advance Section, since 
Forward Echelon was to have active con- 
trol of the communications zone in that 
period. Advance Section was to begin its 
role as one of the subcommands of the 
Communications Zone on D plus 41, 
moving forward with the armies, relin- 
quishing territory and installations in the 
rear to other COMZ sections. While For- 
ward Echelon was to command the Com- 
munications Zone in this period, it was to 
be subordinate to 1 st Army Group. 
Neither General Lee's nor General Eisen- 
hower's headquarters was expected to 

move to the Continent till D plus 90, at 
which time the Communications Zone 
and 1st Army Group were to become co- 
ordinate commands responsible to the 
Supreme Commander. The Advance Sec- 
tion and Forward Echelon thus shared 
responsibility for the initial development 
of the communications zone, with Ad- 
vance Section accomplishing detailed 
planning for its operations under the lat- 
ter's supervision, and Forward Echelon 
developing detailed plans for its assump- 
tion of COMZ command after D plus 41. 33 
Advance Section had already started 
on its task when Forward Echelon entered 
the field, but it needed direction from 
above. Forward Echelon was the only 
agency other than the SOS itself where 
decisions could be made, since it was the 
agency responsible for the over-all devel- 
opment of the communications zone. It 
began to supervise ADSEC planning to- 
ward the end of February. The Advance 
Section's initial need was to prepare for its 
operations while it was attached to First 
Army, however, and its planning from the 
start was closely related to that of First 
Army. Forward Echelon concerned itself 
mainly with the problem of over-all devel- 
opment of the communications zone — 
particularly after D plus 4 1 — review and 
co-ordination of plans of the Advance 
Section and other COMZ sections, and 
executive arrangements with 1st and 21 
Army Groups to implement plans. 34 

32 Organization and Command, II, 61-66. 

33 Ibid., II, 66. 

34 Ibid., II, 67. The General Board Report on the 
organization and functions of the Communications 
Zone questions the advisability of granting ADSEC 
such wide planning responsibilities. Since ADSEC 
had to establish supply facilities and construct instal- 
lations on the Continent it necessarily had to prepare 
plans therefor. On the other hand, the report points 
out, the chiefs of services had previously worked out 
detailed supply requirements and co-ordinated plans 



The whole U.S. administrative setup, 
as regards planning responsibilities, was 
somewhat complicated to say the least. At 
the risk of some repetition it may be well 
to recapitulate the arrangements as they 
stood in mid-April. On the highest Allied 
command level SHAEF planned the over- 
all administration of all forces involved in 
Overlord, controlling inter- Allied and 
interservice matters and exercising con- 
trol over supply of items (for example, 
petroleum) that required over-all co- 
ordination at the highest level. Most of its 
administrative planning responsibilities 
were delegated to lower commands. The 
21 Army Group was made responsible for 
over-all planning for the entire lodgment 
during the period when it was the highest 
ground force headquarters on the Conti- 
nent, or until the 1st Army Group was as- 
signed an area of responsibility. 

The 2 1 Army Group in turn delegated 
its planning responsibilities for U.S. forces 
to the First Army and the 1st Army Group. 
To First Army went the responsibility for 
co-ordinating all U.S. forces in the initial 
assault, including air and naval forces. 

for the operations and were the only agencies posses- 
sing the necessary over-all knowledge essential for 
working out plans with the combat echelons. In prac- 
tice both FECOMZ and ADSEC were heavily de- 
pendent on the service chiefs in the preparation of 
supply requirements and plans, and the General 
Board suggests that it would have been better to give 
the GOMZ staff responsibility and authority for 
making them in the first place. This would have kept 
the responsibility for supply plans continuously in 
one headquarters instead of passing it successively 
from First Army to ADSEG to FECOMZ to COMZ. 
In addition to providing continuity and eliminating 
an echelon of co-ordination, the report asserts, it 
would have placed negotiations directly in the hands 
of a strong, well-informed staff capable of dealing 
with the armies and army group on an equal basis. 
It admits, however, that it was necessary to keep 
ADSEG fully informed of all plans as a basis for op- 
erations. Gen Bd Rpt 127, p. 35. 

The 1st Army Group was charged with 
preparing plans for the employment of 
units other than First Army troops after 
D plus 15, and with responsibility for 
planning by the Deputy Commander, 
Communications Zone, for the initial de- 
velopment of the communications zone on 
the Continent. Forward Echelon was to 
write the over-all outline plan for the com- 
munications zone (to D plus 90); Advance 
Section was to be responsible for its own 
phase of operations as the Communica- 
tions Zone on the Continent (D plus 15 to 
41), and also for its role in direct support 
of the armies thereafter. Other COMZ 
sections were assigned responsibilities for 
planning their portions of the communi- 
cations zone. ETOUSA-COMZ was to 
remain as a rear echelon in the United 
Kingdom to handle supply requisitioning, 
to mount U.S. forces in Operation Over- 
lord, and to prepare standard service 
doctrine for all U.S. forces in the theater. 35 
The delineation of planning responsi- 
bilities was fairly clear by mid-April, and 
the bulk of the various plans began to ap- 
pear in April and May, although First 
Army issued its plan in February. On 1 
April, 21 Army Group published broad 
instructions on the administration of the 
entire zone, and a few weeks later the U.S. 
administrative staff at 21 Army Group 
issued a similar outline administrative 
plan adapting the army group plan to the 
U.S. zone. The ADSEC plan, covering its 
own part in operations from D Day to D 
plus 41, was published on 30 April. The 
over-all U.S. COMZ plan, covering the 
development of the communications zone 
to D plus 90, was issued by FECOMZ on 
14 May. Finally, ETOUSA issued a gen- 
eral plan for the administrative support 

Organization and Command, II, 68-69. 



of U.S. forces from the United Kingdom 
in the form of a standing operating pro- 
cedure (SOP), the first of a series which 
was to be issued by the highest U.S. ad- 
ministrative headquarters governing the 
over-all supply and administration of U.S. 
forces. Except for the ETOUSA SOP, all 
these plans were the result of co-ordination 
by the various headquarters concerned 
under the general supervision of 21 Army 
Group headquarters. Despite the many 
agencies involved, the planning seems to 
have been fairly well co-ordinated, and, 
taken together, the plans gave a relatively 
complete picture of the projected admin- 
istrative organization on the Continent. 36 

(6) Continental Base Sections 

In addition to organization and plan- 
ning at the staff level (Forward Echelon) 
and planning for the initial development 
of the communications zone (Advance 
Section), plans had gone forward to create 
the Communications Zone's other sub- 
commands on the Continent — the base 
sections which were to take over territory 
surrendered by the Advance Section as it 
displaced forward following the armies. 
Planning the expansion of the continental 
administrative organization was also 
under the supervision of Forward Echelon. 

Under a plan known as Reverse Bolero 
or Orelob (later renamed Rhumba) it was 
contemplated that most of the U.S. logistic 
machinery would be transferred to the 
Continent, so that American troops and 
supplies could enter France directly from 
the United States. This meant disbanding: 
the base sections in the United Kingdom, 
replacing them with a single U.K. base 
section, and forming base section organic 
zations on the Continent. One of the diffi- 
culties in carrying out this program was to 

form the new base sections for continental 
missions before SOS troops could be re- 
lieved of their duties in the United King- 
dom. The rapid influx of troops and sup- 
plies into the United Kingdom kept most 
of the SOS troops occupied with routine 
service of supply functions such as port 
and depot operations. In the weeks just 
preceding D Day and for several months 
thereafter they were to have the additional 
task of handling the outflow of troops and 
supplies from the United Kingdom. The 
same men had to be used on all these ac- 
tivities, and there was no increase in the 
SOS troop allotment for carrying them 
out concurrently. 

Diverting troops to prepare for con- 
tinental operations was obviously difficult 
under these circumstances, and it was 
clear that complete base section head- 
quarters staffs with their full complements 
of troops could not be constituted and as- 
sembled in advance of the operation. The 
general procedure, therefore, was to form 
only the nuclei of base section organiza- 
tions in the United Kingdom, taking a 
commanding officer from one of the exist- 
ing U.K. sections to head a planning 
group, and giving it an assigned task on 
the Continent. Troops were assigned to the 
new base section, although the transfer to 
the new headquarters was in many in- 
stances simply a paper transaction, for 
they continued for the most part to per- 
form SOS functions in the United King- 
dom within the existing U.K. base sections 
until the time came for their movement to 
the far shore. The commanding officers of 
the new sections exercised supervision over 
the training of these troops for their future 
missions, but their training was carried on 
through the base sections in which they 

36 Ibid., II, 70-71. 



were still functioning, and the newly acti- 
vated sections remained skeleton head- 
quarters organizations, the intention being 
to flesh them out with operating troop 
units as it became necessary on the Con- 

This procedure was worked out first for 
ADSEC troops, and then followed later in 
the formation of other base sections. By 
D Day planning was being carried on as 
vigorously as possible for the administra- 
tive setup on the Continent, though only 
two section headquarters in addition to 
Advance Section had been activated by 
that time and they were simply given 
numerical designations — Base Section No. 
1 and Base Section No. 2. 

Planning for the mission of Base Section 
No. 1 began several months before its 
official activation. Troops for the new sec- 
tion were to be provided through the de- 
activation of Eastern Base Section. Or- 
ganization of the new headquarters was 
given increasing attention in March 1944, 
when Eastern Base Section made plans to 
disband by consolidating all five of its dis- 
tricts into one, which was to be incorpo- 
rated into Western Base Section as a single 
district. This step was in line with the 
Reverse Bolero program which contem- 
plated the gradual closing out of the U.K. 
installations and contracting the entire 
administrative organization there. 

Eastern Base Section was finally deacti- 
vated at the end of April and became 
District VIII of Western Base Section. 
Men no longer needed to operate district 
headquarters were immediately trans- 
ferred to Base Section No. 1, newly acti- 
vated on 1 May under the command of 
Col. Roy W, Grower, the former com- 
mander of Eastern Base. This new base 
section was to be held in readiness in the 
United Kingdom and called forward to 

the Continent shortly after an army rear 
boundary was drawn. The Advance Sec- 
tion was to release to this organization the 
Rennes-Laval-Chateaubriant area in 
eastern Brittany as soon as it was feasible, 
and when the armies turned northeast- 
ward the new command was to take over 
all of Brittany. In accordance with this 
assigned mission Base Section No. 1 de- 
veloped a detailed plan for its operations 
in the Brittany area. 37 

The change in the axis of communica- 
tions from north-south to east-west, ex- 
pected to take place about D plus 41, was 
to be an important turning point in con- 
tinental developments. It was at approxi- 
mately this date that a second army and 
the 1st Army Group were to become 
operational, and that the Forward Echelon 
of the Communications Zone was to as- 
sume control of the communications zone 
on the Continent. 

With the development of the Brittany 
area and the change in direction of the 
lines of communications the Advance Sec- 
tion was to displace to a position on the 
west-east line of advance, relinquishing to 
still another base section the responsibility 
for command and operation of the Coten- 
tin area. Early in May it was suggested 
that a skeleton headquarters should be 
formed for this purpose with personnel 
drawn from the Western and Northern 
Ireland Base Sections, and later additions 
from Southern Base Section. This union 
of forces was not carried out entirely as 
planned, for the diminishing activities in 
Northern Ireland Base Section made both 
its commanding general and the necessary 
staff and headquarters troops available for 
the new organization. Late in May the 
headquarters of a second base section was 

37 Organization and Command, II, 84-88. 



formed in Northern Ireland and was 
officially activated as Base Section No. 2 
on 1 June under the command of General 
Collins, the former commander of North- 
ern Ireland Base. Its mission was to pre- 
pare for the assumption of command and 
operational control of the Cotentin area 
when relinquished by the Advance Sec- 
tion. Northern Ireland Base Section was 
disbanded on 15 June and, like Eastern 
Base Section, became a district of Western 

In formulating the plans for the con- 
tinental base section organization Colonel 
Albrecht, chief of staff of the Forward 
Echelon, suggested that a third base sec- 
tion be formed and also recommended 
that Central Base Section (then compris- 
ing the London area) prepare for a conti- 
nental mission. These proposals raised the 
problem of finding sufficient personnel in 
the existing U.K. sections to staff the new 
headquarters and arranging for their 
transfer without marring the efficiency of 
the U.K. organizations. Both Western and 
Southern Base Sections were too preoc- 
cupied with the build-up and mounting 
tasks to surrender personnel for such a pur- 
pose. Nevertheless, the first steps were 
taken to organize an additional section to 
serve as an intermediate section between 
the base and advance sections, handling 
communications, transportation, and sup- 
plies and operating certain fixed installa- 
tions. A planning staff was recruited, but 
its mission remained indeterminate, and 
the activation of an additional head- 
quarters had to be postponed till after 
D Day. Nevertheless the framework of the 
continental administrative structure was 
already clear, providing for several port 
area base sections, an intermediate section, 
and an advance section, extending from 
the ports to the army rear boundaries. 38 

The mounting of Overlord was a 
tremendous undertaking in itself. For the 
most part this responsibility involved no 
change in the administrative organization 
beyond that already made by the January 
consolidation of ETOUSA with SOS, for 
the new combined headquarters furnished 
a centralized and integrated apparatus to 
carry it out. ETOUSA delegated its re- 
sponsibilities in this field to First Army 
and the SOS. The two headquarters had 
to co-ordinate their work closely, both in 
the planning and operational stages. First 
Army was responsible for handling the 
movement of troops, embarkation, and 
allotment of supplies, and the SOS was re- 
sponsible for maintaining all camps and 
installations in the American sector of 
southern England and providing trans- 
portation. In the mounting phase the SOS 
was to act as housekeeper for First Army, 
carrying out the mounting arrangements 
through the base sections and technical 
services. Since the base sections were most 
directly involved in the mounting, their 
commanders were designated as repre- 
sentatives of the Commanding General, 
SOS, to deal directly with each other and 
with First Army commander and his rep- 
resentatives on matters of administrative 
facilities and installations, such as the lo- 
cation, construction, and operation of 
marshaling, assembly, and transit areas, 
roads, and communications facilities. The 
various base section mounting plans ap- 
peared in March 1944. Their execution 
involved a multitude of other responsi- 
bilities which are described in a later 
chapter. 39 

38 Ibid., II, 84-92. 

39 Ibid. , II, 37; Neptune: Training for and Mount- 
ing the Operation and the Artificial Ports, Pt. VI of 
the Logistical and Administrative History of the ETO, 
Hist Div USFET, 1946, MS, I, 123-25, OGMH. 



(7) Final Command Arrangements 

The determination of the command 
structure for U.S. forces continued to oc- 
cupy the attention of the SHAEF and 
ETOUSA staffs until the very eve of Over- 
lord. Most of the problems of command 
revolved around the question of Forward 
Echelon's position and the question of the 
future role of the ETOUSA-COMZ head- 

From the question of what role Forward 
Echelon was to play on the Continent 
there developed one of the most irksome 
problems in the whole complicated history 
of U.S. command and organization. The 
1st Army Group had definitely been 
charged by 21 Army Group with supervis- 
ing Forward Echelon's planning of the 
initial development of the communica- 
tions zone, and it was clear that the 
COMZ plan as finally written was subject 
to review by the 1st Army Group admin- 
istrative staff. Forward Echelon persisted 
nevertheless in regarding itself as an at- 
tachment to 21 Army Group co-ordinate 
with rather than subordinate to the 1st 
Army Group attachment. To complicate 
matters, 1st Army Group had granted 
authority to Forward Echelon to draw up 
the plans for certain detailed implementa- 
tion of the 1st Army Group administrative 
staff's over- all plan which applied to the 
whole U.S. sector rather than solely to the 
communications zone. Forward Echelon 
had decided to have these matters pub- 
lished in ETOUSA SOP's. The 1st Army 
Group requested that all proposed pub- 
lications on administrative plans and in- 
structions applying to the whole sector be 
submitted to it for review. The request 
seemed clearly within its authority in view 
of the fact that it had been charged with 
responsibility for co-ordinating admin- 

istrative planning and arrangements for 
all U.S. forces on the Continent after First 
Army relinquished control. Since 
ETOUSA was actually a higher head- 
quarters, however, it did not consider 1st 
Army Group's comments binding. 

This incident illustrated pointedly the 
vague division of planning functions be- 
tween the two headquarters, and revealed 
a weak link in the whole U.S. command 
and organizational structure for Over- 
lord. The 1st Army Group was clearly 
the headquarters for the control of U.S. 
forces in the Allied line of command. 
ETOUSA, however, was outside that 
Allied line of command and as an admin- 
istrative headquarters exercised certain 
powers independently. Forward Echelon, 
an echelon of Headquarters, ETOUSA, 
also represented the consolidated 
ETOUSA-SOS staff since the COMZ 
commander, General Lee, was also Dep- 
uty Commanding General, ETOUSA. 40 

Closely related to this problem in the 
planning stage was the matter of Forward 
Echelon's future role on the Continent. 
It will be recalled that Forward Echelon 
was to supervise the initial development 
of the communications zone. In Phase 
II — D plus 15 to 41 — when Advance Sec- 
tion was the sole Communications Zone 
section on the Continent, Forward Echelon 
was not to exercise any active control, ac- 
cording to the original plans. It was to re- 
main as a staff attached to 21 Army 
Group, acting in an advisory capacity on 
COMZ matters. Not until the third phase, 
when 1st Army Group became opera- 
tional, was it to assume active direction of 
the Communications Zone. Late in April, 
however, Forward Echelon again brought 
the question of its future role into promi- 

40 Organization and Command, II, 72-74. 



nence when it attempted to change the 
plan for Phase II. It now proposed that it 
should take over direct control of the 
Communications Zone once an army rear 
boundary was drawn (at D plus 15), 
thereby eliminating the period when Ad- 
vance Section would be the highest ad- 
ministrative headquarters on the Con- 
tinent 41 

The suggested alteration in the com- 
mand plan naturally produced some con- 
sternation in Advance Section and First 
Army, for it conflicted with earlier com- 
mitments to First Army that no interme- 
diate headquarters would be established 
between the army and Advance Section 
before the introduction of a second base 
section. The ADSEC commander, Gen- 
eral Plank, promptly sought an explana- 
tion. General Lord, 42 the COMZ chief of 
staff, proposed as a workable solution that 
Forward Echelon be established in Phase 
II, as the COMZ commander desired, but 
that it exercise only "supervision and co- 
ordination" over Advance Section, and 
not enter command channels or supply 
requisition channels. This attempt to rec- 
oncile the opposing desires of the Commu- 
nications Zone and ADSEC-First Army 
had all the earmarks of earlier directives; 
it was vague in its demarcation of author- 
ity and was bound to lead to conflicting 
interpretation when the test of actual op- 
erations came. For the moment the issue 
was not clarified, and the relationship of 
Forward Echelon and Advance Section 
was left up in the air, although there seems 
to have been no doubt in the minds of the 
FECOMZ staff members from this point 
on that they would assume full supervision 
and control of all COMZ activities at the 
time an army rear boundary was drawn. 

The issue of Forward Echelon's role on 
the Continent in the second phase re- 

ceived some clarification by mid-May, 
when the COMZ plan was released. The 
plan (issued by Forward Echelon) sub- 
stantially confirmed the scheme for plan- 
ning and development of the communica- 
tions zone in three phases as outlined 
earlier. The idea that Forward Echelon 
would become an intermediate headquar- 
ters between First Army and Advance 
Section and that it would assume control 
of the Communications Zone in Phase II 
was apparently abandoned. The plan suc- 
cinctly stated that when an army rear 
boundary was drawn Forward Echelon 
would "exercise staff supervision" for the 
Commander-in-Chief, 21 Army Group, 
over the operations of Advance Section. 
Forward Echelon was to assume full super- 
vision and operational control of all 
COMZ activities only after Advance Sec- 
tion and a second COMZ section became 
contiguous. When 1st Army Group was 
allotted an area of responsibility on the 
Continent, Forward Echelon was to be de- 
tached from 2 1 Army Group and attached 
to 1st Army Group. It finally appeared 
settled, therefore, that in Phase II this 
highly controversial headquarters was to 
be, as General Lord had proposed, a staff 
supervisory agency, operating with 21 
Army Group. 

This conception was once more under- 
lined late in May as a result of an attempt 
by General Moses, the 1st Army Group 
G-4 and chief of the U.S. administrative 
staff at 21 Army Group, to reopen the 
whole matter with a new interpretation of 
Forward Echelon's position, denying For- 
ward Echelon a place on the 21 Army 
Group staff. General Moses' views were 

41 Ibid., II, 74-75; Interv with Albrecht, 5 Jul 51. 

42 Plank was promoted to brigadier general on 24 
February 1944; Lord was promoted to brigadier gen- 
eral on 22 February 1944. 



rejected, but ETOUSA now definitely 
abandoned any pretension that Forward 
Echelon would command Advance Sec- 
tion while the latter was the sole section on 
the Continent. In a letter to General 
Moses ETOUSA expressly stated that the 
Forward Echelon would act as a staff of 2 1 
Army Group for COMZ matters and exer- 
cise general technical supervision over the 
sections. Following this reply to General 
Moses a new directive was issued to For- 
ward Echelon officially stating these views. 

Even this interpretation of the role of 
Forward Echelon was only temporarily 
accepted for, as will be seen from later de- 
velopments on the Continent, it was not 
acceptable to 1st Army Group. The com- 
mand arrangement was inherently a diffi- 
cult one, and the question of the relative 
authority of the deputy theater com- 
mander for supply and administration 
(General Lee) and the commander of the 
field forces (General Bradley) was still 
only vaguely answered. Shortly before D 
Day General Eisenhower himself stepped 
in % and attempted to lay down a modus 
operandi for the two headquarters. In a let- 
ter to General Lee written on 26 May and 
published by ETOUSA on 1 June the the- 
ater commander specified that the Com- 
manding General, 1st Army Group, in 
making recommendations concerning the 
priority of shipment, assignment, and uti- 
lization of field forces, and concerning the 
allocation of supplies and equipment to 
units of the field forces, was to deal directly 
with the deputy theater commander. Any 
disagreements on matters of conflicting in- 
terest were to be referred to the theater 
commander for decision. In short, an at- 
tempt was being made to render workable 
by co-operation and co-ordination a com- 
mand arrangement in which authority 
could not be precisely defined. 43 

To anticipate a bit, the relative status of 
the FECOMZ and 1st Army Group at- 
tachments at General Montgomery's 
headquarters was debated once more after 
D Day, and agreement was reached once 
and for all at the end of June. The agree- 
ment gave the 1st Army Group staff under 
General Moses primary responsibility for 
co-ordinating the administration of U.S. 
forces as between the field forces on the 
one hand and the service forces on the 
other, but specified that the FECOMZ at- 
tachment was to be consulted exclusively 
on matters applying solely to the commu- 
nications zone, and recognized the 
FECOMZ attachment as the staff agency 
responsible for dealing directly with the 
various COMZ sections. 44 

Meanwhile an attempt was also made 
to reconcile the views held by the 
ETOUSA-COMZ staff and the U.S. com- 
ponent of SHAEF regarding the evolution 
of the top American command on the 
Continent. Linked with the concept of 
Forward Echelon as the controlling head- 
quarters for the Communications Zone on 
the Continent in the second phase was the 
idea that Forward Echelon would even- 
tually merge into an ETOUSA-COMZ 
headquarters to take the place of the exist- 
ing ETOUSA-SOS headquarters in the 
United Kingdom. Headquarters, Com- 
munications Zone, envisaged the old 
ETOUSA-SOS as being allowed to die, 
with ETOUSA-COMZ taking its place to 
operate in the same way. Forward Eche- 
lon, according to this view, would actually 
be the vanguard of Headquarters, 
ETOUSA-COMZ, on the Continent, 
though it would not be officially consid- 
ered as the theater headquarters until the 

43 Organization and Command, II, 76-83. 

44 Ibid., II, 130-32. 



Supreme Commander established SHAEF 
headquarters there. While the ETOUSA- 
COMZ group visualized a transfer to the 
Continent of the basic setup existing in the 
United Kingdom, the SHAEF group felt 
that the existing ETOUSA headquarters 
should become merely a Communications 
Zone headquarters. Thus the tendency, 
mentioned earlier, for the American staff 
at SHAEF to assume some of the aspects 
of a theater headquarters found open ex- 
pression as the time carrie to clarify the 
command and organizational structure for 
continental operations. This development 
had been a product of the ETOUSA- 
SOS consolidation and the transformation 
of COSSAC into an Allied command. 
The result of these conflicting contentions 
was to be a compromise representing 
something of the views of both the 
ETOUSA-COMZ and SHAEF groups. 

General Crawford, the SHAEF G-4, 
presented the SHAEF staff's views to 
General Lee in a draft proposal on 28 
May. Among the salient features of Craw- 
ford's proposal was the provision, already 
accepted in earlier plans, that the Com- 
munications Zone was to be placed under 
1st Army Group during the transitional 
stage before SHAEF moved to the Con- 
tinent. But the controversial feature of the 
proposal was the provision that SHAEF 
should take over the functions of the the- 
ater headquarters in the final command 
setup both in the United Kingdom and on 
the Continent. The theater commander, 
according to this plan, was to delegate 
much of his administrative authority to 
the major subcommands — 1st Army 
Group, the Ninth Air Force, and Commu- 
nications Zone. Such powers as he re- 
tained would be exercised from his own 
headquarters at SHAEF rather than from 
General Lee's headquarters, which up to 

that time had been the real theater head- 
quarters; and SHAEF's rear echelon in 
the United Kingdom was to exercise such 
theater functions in the United Kingdom 
as the theater commander retained under 
his control. Crawford further suggested 
that the office of deputy theater com- 
mander be eliminated, that Headquarters, 
ETOUSA, as it then existed be disbanded, 
and that as many of its personnel as were 
required to perform the administrative 
functions of the U.S. theater be transferred 
to SHAEF. The remainder of the staff 
would be available for transfer to 1st Army 
Group or the Communications Zone. All 
communications with the War Depart- 
ment were to be channeled through the 
theater commander at SHAEF, not 
through the ETOUSA headquarters, 
where General Lee had handled this bur- 
den through the planning period. 45 

The reception that this proposal re- 
ceived at General Lee's headquarters can 
well be imagined. To the ETOUSA- 
COMZ staff and the chiefs of services it 
meant a reversion to the same setup that 
had existed before ETOUSA and SOS 
were consolidated. Recalling the difficul- 
ties of 1943, most of the service chiefs felt 
that the separation of COMZ headquar- 
ters, where they were based, from the 
theater headquarters at SHAEF would 
put them in a situation much like the one 
they had unhappily known at Chelten- 
ham. Such a setup could lead to the same 
kind of unfortunate conflict as existed in 
World War I when the American GHQ 
(corresponding to theater headquarters) 
had persisted in maintaining its superiority 
over the SOS (corresponding to the Com- 
munications Zone) in supply and adminis- 
tration and thus frustrated all attempts to 

45 Organization and Command, II, 76, 110-12, 



centralize control over these activities. 46 

The ETOUSA-COMZ staff saw many 
reasons why the proposed solution was not 
feasible. Among them was the enormous 
amount of routine administrative matters, 
comprising 90 percent of the theater's cor- 
respondence with the War Department, 
which would have to be handled at 
SHAEF headquarters. The objection was 
also raised, with doubtful justification, 
that an Allied headquarters would have 
jurisdiction over purely U.S. matters while 
the British War Office would continue to 
handle its own administrative affairs. 

Since a decision on the whole matter 
rested ultimately with the theater com- 
mander, General Lee formally presented 
his own views to General Eisenhower in 
an attempt to demonstrate what he con- 
ceived to be the basic unsoundness of Gen- 
eral Crawford's proposal. In a lengthy, 
vigorously stated analysis of the whole 
problem of command he characterized the 
proposal as "so diametrically opposed" to 
the views of the Supreme Commander, 
and "so far reaching in its application" 
that he doubted whether General Eisen- 
hower or his chief of staff, General Smith, 
had given it careful consideration and 
were fully aware of its implications. Gen- 
eral Lee's basic argument rested on a 
principle which he had expounded per- 
sistently ever since his arrival in the the- 
ater, and which had found partial imple- 
mentation in the consolidation of January: 
"Control and responsibility for the logis- 
tical support of all combat forces must be 
established at the highest U.S. level." 47 
This he considered a basic principle, and a 
major lesson from World War I experience. 
Control of purely U.S. administrative 
matters, he contended, was not feasible in 
an Allied organization unless there was a 
distinct separation between Allied staffs. 

The complexity and magnitude of the 
U.S. administrative organization pre- 
cluded Allied staff integration. By way of 
illustration he pointed to the great volume 
of communications processed by the Sig- 
nal Service within the theater and to the 
War Department — something over 1,700,- 
000 words per day — dealing chiefly with 
logistic matters, and to the complexity in 
programing, requisitioning, transporta- 
tion, storage, stock control, and issue of 
approximately 700,000 different items of 
supply. 48 

In General Lee's view the best way to 
accomplish the administrative support of 
all U.S. forces, using the minimum num- 
ber of headquarters and conserving the al- 
ready trained staff and technical officers 
and enlisted personnel, was to maintain 
the combined ETOUSA and SOS staffs as 
the U.S. administrative headquarters, re- 
porting directly to the theater commander 
as at present. He implied that this arrange- 

46 The whole long struggle in the ETO was in fact 
strikingly similar to that of 1917-18. At that time the 
headquarters were separated, the GHQat Ghaumont 
and the Line of Communications or LOC (later called 
the SOS) at Tours, with all the wasteful use of per- 
sonnel and duplication of effort which characterized 
administrative and logistical operations in the ETO 
in its first year and a half. Until February 1918 the 
chiefs of services, then called bureau chiefs, actually 
resided at General Pershing's headquarters, the 
GHQj through which all communications with the 
War Department were routed, and where the G-4 in- 
sisted on passing on all SOS requests. Not until July 

1918 was the SOS finally authorized to deal directly 
with the War Department on supply and administra- 
tive matters. See Johnson Hagood, The Services of Sup- 
ply: A Memoir of the Great War (Boston, 1927), and 
James G. Harbord, The American Army in France, 1917- 

1919 (Boston, 1936). 

47 Ltr, Lee to Eisenhower, 29 May 44, as cited in 
Organization and Command, II, 1.14. 

48 This is a conservative figure. It is estimated that 
the supply services handle between 800,000 and 
1,000,000 Class II and IV items-alone, exclusive of air 
force items. The Sears, Roebuck catalogue, by com- 
parison, lists approximately 100,000 separate articles. 



ment had worked very satisfactorily,* in- 
deed, the only difficulty to date had oc- 
curred when the SHAEF staff had at- 
tempted to occupy itself with purely U.S. 
administrative matters. 

General Eisenhower's decisions on the 
matter of the organization of U.S. forces 
in Overlord were made known in a final 
directive to the major American subcom- 
mands on 6 June. General Lee's represen- 
tations on the subject apparently weighed 
heavily with the Supreme Commander, 
for the final directive met many of the ob- 
jections which the SOS chief had raised. 
In some respects, however, it may well be 
viewed as a compromise between the two 
views involved. 

For purposes of delineating the com- 
mand the directive divided the operation 
roughly accordin g to the st ages outlined in 
the COMZ plan. K C7z^71)l During the first 
stage 2 1 Army Group was to command all 
Allied ground forces on the Continent, 
with a U.S. staff attached for the adminis- 
tration of U.S. troops under 21 Army 
Group's command. The bulk of U.S. 
forces, including Advance Section, was to 
be attached to First Army, the highest 
field command in this phase. The theater 
commander would delegate to the com- 
manding general of First Army, "such 
authority and responsibility as may be 
practicable or desirable." Ninth Air Force 
was to be under the operational control of 
the AEAF, and under the administrative 
control of USSTAF. The SOS was to be 
redesignated the Communications Zone, 
and the theater chiefs of services were to 
be located at COMZ headquarters. Other- 
wise the existing U.K. organization was to 
be unchanged. 

During the transition, or second, stage 
the 2 1 Army Group was to continue as the 
highest Allied ground force command on 

the Continent. In this period, however, the 
bulk of the 1 st Army Group attachment to 
2 1 Army Group was to be gradually with- 
drawn and the COMZ attachment, 
FECOMZ, completely withdrawn. Third 
Army would move to the Continent, and 
at the end of this period 1st Army Group 
was to be assigned an area of responsi- 
bility and assume control of the two 
American armies. All responsibilities pre- 
viously delegated to First Army would 
then pass to the army group. At the same 
time the Communications Zone would 
also be extended to the Continent, and the 
control of Advance Section would pass 
from First Army to the Communications 
Zone. At that time General Lee would be 
relieved of his responsibilities as deputy 
theater commander. The U.K. organiza- 
tion was gradually to be reduced in 
strength. With these changes the final 
stage would be reached, when the more or 
less permanent command setup would 
come into operation. An advance head- 
quarters of SHAEF would move to the 
Continent at that time and would assume 
over-all control of the ground forces, work- 
ing through General Bradley as com- 
mander in chief of the Central Group of 
Armies (1st Army Group), and through 
Field Marshal Montgomery as the com- 
mander-in-chief of the Northern Group of 
Armies (21 Army Group). The Communi- 
cations Zone would then come under the 
direct control of General Eisenhower as 
theater commander. 

The directive also announced the thea- 
ter commander's intention to delegate "all 
possible authority and responsibility" to 
his subordinate commanders: the Com- 
mander in Chief, Central Group of Ar- 
mies; the Commanding General, Ninth 
Air Force; the Commanding General, 
USSTAF; and the Commanding General, 

Chart 6 — Planned Command Arrangements for Overlord 




Air Force 


War Office 

Forward Echelon 





21 Army 




Allied Naval 

U. S. Administrative 



Expeditionary Force 

First U. S. 

Second British 





Forward Echelon 


Base Sections 


First U. S. 
Army Group 

21 Army 








Line of 



Communications Zone. Over such theater 
functions as he would personally retain he 
would exercise control through the U.S. 
element of SHAEF. But, arid this was im- 
portant, the COMZ headquarters was to 
remain the channel of communication for 
the theater commander to the War De- 
partment "except for those matters re- 
served by the Theater Commander to 
himself." In the United Kingdom, in ac- 
cord with the liquidation program, the 
base sections were to be consolidated into 
one U.K. Base under the commanding 
general of the Communications Zone. 

The directive was actually something of 
a compromise that gave concessions both 
to the SHAEF and 1st Army Group staff 
and to the ETOUSA-SOS group. For one 
thing, it appeared to have clearly and def- 
initely accorded to Forward Echelon the 
desired and long-argued position as a staff 
co-ordinate with 1st Army Group at the 
21 Army Group. Further, it did not pro- 
vide that the communications zone would 
come under 1st Army Group in the transi- 
tional stage, but that it would come under 
the immediate control of Headquarters, 
Communications Zone, when Advance 
Section was detached from First Army. 
However, the Communications Zone's re- 
lationship to 1st Army Group was not en- 
tirely clarified even at this time, for 1st 
Army Group was to inherit all the author- 
ity previously delegated to First Army, in- 
cluding control of the supply and adminis- 
trative support. There was still room for 
contention, therefore, that the communi- 
cations zone would be under 1st Army 
Group until SHAEF arrived on the Con- 
tinent. It seemed that this issue would for- 
ever elude a clear-cut solution. 

Another decision that seemed unfavor- 
able to the ETOUSA group was the ter- 
mination of General Lee's position as 

deputy theater commander in this period. 
The theater chiefs of services were to re- 
main resident at his headquarters, how- 
ever, and his headquarters was to remain 
responsible for carrying on all routine ad- 
ministrative correspondence with the War 
Department. Actually, the functions and 
responsibilities of General Lee's headquar- 
ters remained the same, and the change 
in General Lee's position had little effect 
on the existing responsibilities and chan- 
nels of command. 

Some matters were still left in doubt. 
One question which might very logically 
arise concerned the actual location of the- 
ater headquarters. Was it at SHAEF with 
the theater commander, or at Headquar- 
ters, Communications Zone, where the 
general and special staffs of the theater re- 
sided? Apparently it was divided between 
the two. As was to be expected, General 
Lee continued to regard his headquarters 
as theater headquarters for some time to 
come, although it tended to become more 
definitely a COMZ headquarters instead. 
It might be defined legally as a COMZ 
headquarters charged with the perform- 
ance of certain theater functions. This di- 
vision of function was unique and was to 
call for further clarification shortly after 
the launching of the invasion. 

Despite these deficiencies, which loom 
large because of the controversy they 
caused, the command setup for U.S. and 
Allied forces was well outlined by the date 
of the invasion. On 1 June General Eisen- 
hower had issued a final directive outlin- 
ing the command arrangements on the 
Allied level, but this contained no basic 
change. Also, on 18 May, General Brad- 
ley had at last been officially designated as 
commanding general of both 1st Army 
Group and First Army, with Lt. Gen. 
Courtney H. Hodges as his deputy, the 



obvious intention being that Hodges 
should take over First Army when the 
army group became operational. The ful- 
fillment of these plans which had been so 
long in the making was finally undertaken 
on 6 June, when the transfer of the U.S. 
organization from the United Kingdom to 
the Continent was begun. The operation 
on the Continent was soon to measure the 
wisdom of the command and organiza- 
tional arrangements and test the work of 
the planners. 49 

In the final months during which the 
command and organizational problems 
were threshed out and detailed tactical 
and logistic plans were written, military 
preparations reached an unprecedented 
tempo in the United Kingdom. Even the 
smallest hamlets and rural lanes did not 
escape the feverish activity that character- 
ized the operations of every depot and 
training area as well as of the various 
headquarters. A prodigious stocking of 
supplies and equipment took place in these 
months, evoking the comment that the 
British Isles were so weighted down with 
the munitions of war that they were kept 
from sinking only by the buoyant action of 
the barrage balloons which floated above 
the principal ports and military installa- 
tions. The increasing industry was particu- 
larly noticeable in London, where the rel- 
atively subdued atmosphere of the first 
half of 1943 gave way to an almost frantic 
activity in the winter and spring of 1944. 
All roads led to London, for within this 
metropolitan area and on its fringes lay 
most of the principal headquarters, in- 
cluding those of ETOUSA-SOS; the 1st 
Army Group; Forward Echelon, COMZ; 
SHAEF; USSTAF; AEAF; and also the 
top British headquarters. London was 
therefore the nerve center of U.S. Army 

activity in the United Kingdom; and the 
Central Base Section, comprising about 
700 square miles, had a larger concentra- 
tion of important personnel, a greater va- 
riety of installations, and probably more 
problems per square foot than any other 
area in Britain. 

The London area witnessed a tremen- 
dous growth, the strength of Central Base 
Section rising from about 1,000 U.S. 
troops in May 1 942 to 30,000 in the month 
preceding the invasion. Nearly 10,000 of 
the personnel on duty in the Central Base 
Section were assigned to the ETOUSA- 
SOS headquarters. 50 In addition, London 
was the principal leave center in the 
United Kingdom, ministering to the wants 
of a transient population half as large as 
its assigned strength. U.S. forces had grad- 
ually taken over more and more accom- 
modations in the crowded metropolitan 
area. In April 1942 they had occupied less 
than 100,000 square feet of office space, 
plus an officers' mess, a sales store, a ga- 
rage, and several small troop billets. By 
May 1944, in addition to 33 officers' billets 
(including 24 hotels) and 300 buildings 
used for troop accommodations, they oc- 
cupied approximately 2,500,000 square 
feet of space in offices, depots, garages, 
and shops, and a variety of installations 
such as post exchanges, messes, a deten- 
tion barracks, a gymnasium, and clinics 
and dispensaries. 51 

One of the most remarkable of the U.S. 
installations in London was the fabulous 
Consolidated Officers Mess at Grosvenor 
House on Park Lane, only a few blocks 
from theater headquarters on Grosvenor 
Square. Occupying the Great Ball Room 

49 Organization and Command, II, 1 1 2-3 1 . 

50 ETO Progress Rpt XGIX (12 Jim 44), Statistics 
Sec ETO SGS, ETO Adm 429-; History of the Central 
Base Section, Station List, ETO Adm 587A. 

51 History of Central Base Section. 

INVASION EQUIPMENT. Combat vehicles, including tanks, half-tracks, and tracked 
landing vehicles (LVT's) at Tidworth, above. Signal communications cables covering a field at 
Depot G-22, Moreton-on-Lugg, Herefordshire, below. 



of this large West End hotel, "Willow 
Run," as it was quickly dubbed, had been 
opened in December 1943 to accommo- 
date the growing number of officers as- 
signed to duty in London. Operated cafe- 
teria style, with a capacity of 26 servings 
per minute and seating nearly 1 ,000 offi- 
cers at a time, "Willow Run" ably lived 
up to its name and was a marvel of effi- 
ciency to every officer assigned to duty in 
the London area. Its eventual efficiency 
gave little evidence of the trials and tribu- 
lations which attended its opening. The 
payroll problem connected with its British 
civilian staff of between 400 and 500 was 
tremendous in itself, and the services of a 
French chef were early dispensed with 
when it was found that his spirit was 
crushed by the prospect of serving the con- 
tents of the C Ration can. The mess was 

eventually able to serve between 6,000 
and 7,000 meals per day. 52 

While the Americans used facilities in 
various parts of London, the center of U.S. 
activity continued to be Grosvenor Square, 
the greater part of the buildings on three 
of its sides eventually being taken over. 
Most of the billets of the London command 
were located within walking distance of 
the theater headquarters. In nearby Hyde 
Park American servicemen and British ci- 
vilians found mutual amusement, the 
Americans in listening to the daily ha- 
rangues of the lunatic fringe at the Marble 
Arch corner, and the Londoners of the 
West End in "talking it up" at an Ameri- 
can noon-hour softball game played in 
the shadows of the antiaircraft rocket 

52 Ibid. 


The Completion of Bolero 

(!) The Flow of Troops and Cargo, January- 
May 1944 

The U.S. build-up in the United King- 
dom was accomplished largely in the 
twelve months preceding D Day, having 
received its major impetus from the Tri- 
dent Conference of May 1943. The 
Bolero operation accelerated noticeably 
in the fall of 1943, achieved tremendous 
momentum in the early months of 1944, 
and crescendoed, in the manner of the 
Ravel composition for which it was 
named, to its climax in May. In the five 
months from January through May alone 
the number of American forces in the 
United Kingdom was doubled, rising from 
774,000 in December 1943 to 1,527,000 in 
May 1944. In cargo shipments the record 
was similar; upwards of 2,000,000 long 
tons, or 40 percent of all U.S. tonnage dis- 
charged in U.K. ports in the two and one- 
half years from January 1942 to May 
1944, were received in the five months 
preceding D Day. This performance was 
all the more remarkable in view of the 
serious restriction on both troop and cargo 
reception imposed by the limited British 
port and inland transportation facilities, 
which in the final stages actually threat- 
ened to prevent the consummation of the 

At the Quadrant Conference in August 
1943 the Combined Chiefs of Staff had 
agreed to have 1,416,900 U.S. soldiers in 

Great Britain by 1 May 1944, and ship- 
ping was subsequently set up to permit 
this target to be achieved. In the fall of 
1943 approximately 50,000 air force 
troops intended for the ETO were di- 
verted to the Fifteenth Air Force in North 
Africa, and at the Sextant Conference 
held by Allied leaders at Cairo in Novem- 
ber-December 1943 the Combined Chiefs, 
on the basis of shipping and unit availabil- 
ity, lowered the U.K. troop ceiling to 
1,366,000, a reduction roughly equivalent 
to the diversions to North Africa. Either 
through misunderstanding or through 
ignorance of this reduction ETO officials 
responsible for the preparation of flow 
charts continued to plan for and request 
shipments considerably in excess of the 
Sextant schedules, 1 basing their requisi- 
tion on the first phase troop basis. OPD 
officials honored these requests at first. 
They even diverted some 20,000 troops 
from other theaters and activated addi- 
tional units totaling 30,000 men, although 
inadequately trained, to meet the ETO's 
D-Day requirements. In February, how- 
ever, the OPD pointed out the growing 

1 OPD officials suspected that this oversight was 
probably due to the fact that individuals preparing 
the flow charts in the ETO had not even known of 
the Sextant decisions. One OPD officer had found 
theater officials preparing flow charts in November 
without any knowledge of the Quadrant schedules, 
for example, for the reason that security regulations 
allowed only a limited distribution of those papers. 
Note for Record, 29 Feb 44, OPD 320.2, Gases 210-30. 


Table 5 — Troop Build-up in the United Kingdom: August 1943-May 1944 

Arrivals a 

End of Month Strength 

Year and Month 


from Jan 42 



Air Forces 

Services of 










































































a By ship. Excludes movements by air. 

Source; Troop arrivals data obtained from ETO TC Monthly Progress Rpt, 30 Jun 44, ETO Adm 45 1 TC Rpts. Troop 
strength data obtained from Progress Rpts, Progress Div, SOS, 4 Oct 43, ETO Adm 345 Troops, and from Progress Rpts, 
Statistical Sec, SOS, ETO Adm 42 1-29. These ETO strength data were preliminary, unaudited figures for command pur- 
poses and, while differing slightly from the audited WD AG strengths, have been used throughout this volume because of the 
subdivision into air, ground, and service troops. This breakdown is unavailable in WD AG reports. 

discrepancy to the theater and asked for 
additional information on the theater's 
needs so that adequate preparations could 
be made for the shipment of units. 2 

The high rate of troop shipments 
created no particular difficulty in the win- 
ter months, except for the problem of pro- 
viding adequate accommodations in the 
United Kingdom. Record shipments from 
November through April averaged almost 
160,000 men per month, and reached a 
peak of 216,700 arrivals in the month of 
April. (Table 5) Shipping plans for May 
were a more serious matter since outload- 
ing for the cross-Channel operation was to 
begin that month and was bound to re- 
strict movements into the United King- 
dom by limiting port and inland trans- 
portation facilities. On 20 April the War 

Department informed the theater that, in 
compliance with its requests, it was mak- 
ing available and had set up shipping for 
167,000 men in May, 140,000 in June, 
and 148,000 in July. 3 The Sextant sched- 
ule had provided for the shipment of only 
122,600 in May, 121,100 in June, and 
142,800 in July. The lack of co-ordination 
in the troop flow planning was shortly re- 
vealed by the reply from the theater that 
it had planned accommodations for only 
1 18,000. The War Department then of- 
fered to reduce the shipments for May and 
asked the theater which units it desired 

VCbl, OPD to ETO, 29 Feb 44, and Note for 
Record, OPD, 29 Feb 44, OPD 320.2, Gases 210-30; 
Memo, Handy for DCofS, sub: Availability of Units 
for U.K., 29 Dec 43, OPD 320.2, Sec III, Gases 65-71. 

3 Gbl WAR-25883, Marshall to Eisenhower, 20 
Apr 44, OPD 370.5, Sec XII, Gases 412-47. 



backlogged to later months. The Sextant 
schedule, answered the theater immedi- 
ately, did not provide adequate support 
for the operation as then planned. It ar- 
gued that at least 151,000 of the 167,000 
set up for May shipment were of vital im- 
portance to the operation, since they com- 
prised many units already overdue. In the 
meantime the British War Office had 
made it known that British port and rail 
capacities in May, June, and July were 
capable of receiving only the numbers 
agreed on at Sextant, and stood firm on 
those ceilings. 4 

ETOUSA asked the War Department 
to submit the whole matter to the Com- 
bined Chiefs for decision, with the request 
that it raise the shipping goal to 151,000 
in May, 152,000 in June and 152,000 in 
July. 5 Since the problem was not one of 
shipping or availability of troops, and cen- 
tered rather on the question of British port 
and rail capacity, the War Department 
instructed that these difficulties be taken 
up by SHAEF and the British Chiefs of 
Staff. 6 Within a few days the whole matter 
was ironed out, and on 28 April ETOUSA 
informed OPD that the British had 
agreed to maximum shipments of 132,000 
in May, 125,700 in June, and 122,000 in 
July, thus raising the Sextant schedule 
somewhat for May and June. The inabil- 
ity of the theater to receive the troops 
which the War Department had made 
available, and the imposition of these ceil- 
ings, had the net effect of creating a cumu- 
lative deferment of approximately 75,000 
troops by August, and made it necessary 
for the theater to respecify its priorities for 
shipments of units. 7 

Establishment of these ceilings did not 
in the end have a serious effect on the 
build-up. As usual, there still were certain 
shortages in service units, and because of 

an urgent need for certain types of units 
the theater had again reluctantly called 
on the War Department in April to ship 
partially trained units. 8 The U.S. force in 
the United Kingdom on the eve of D Day 
was therefore not as perfectly balanced a 
force as was desired, and the shipment of 
certain combat elements had been de- 
ferred. But in total numbers the Bolero 
build-up had in fact exceeded the target 
of not only the Sextant but the earlier 
and higher Quadrant build-up schedule. 
By 31 May twenty divisions had arrived 
in the United Kingdom, and the theater's 
strength stood at 1,526,965 men, approxi- 
mately 50,000 more than the 1,476,300 
which Sextant schedule had called for on 
that date. The composition of this force 
was as follows: 

Type Number 

Total 1,526,965 

Ground Forces 620,504 

Air Forces 426,819 

Services of Supply 459,5 1 1 

Headquarters, ETO, and other. . 20,131 

The cumulative arrivals in the United 
Kingdom over the past two and one-half 
years actually exceeded 1,750,000 men, 
some of whom had been withdrawn for 

4 Cbl 88589, WO DQMG (M) to BAS Washing- 
ton, 21 Apr 44, SHAEF G-4 381 Bolero I 44. 

5 Cbl E-25062, CG ETO to WD, 26 Apr 44, and 
Note for Record, Bolero Personnel for U.K. in May, 
Jun, and Jul, 26 Apr 44, OPD 370.5, Sec XII, Gases 

6 Cbl W-28487, OPD to ETO, 26 Apr 44, SHAEF 
G-4 Bolero I 44. 

7 OPD later noted that it had actually set up 
180,000 for May shipment and that the backlog was 
even greater. Memo, Col Alexander D. Reid, Chief 
European Sec OPD, for Handy, 1 May 44, sub: Revi- 
sion of Troop Flow to U.K., OPD 370.5, Sec XII, 
Cases 412-47. 

8 Cbl WAR-26204, OPD to CG ETO, 19 Apr 44, 
and Cbl E-25337, Smith to Handy, 28 Apr 44, P&O 
Cbl Files. 



the North African operation. Of this total, 
1,671,010, or about 95 percent, had been 
transported to the theater by ship, the re- 
mainder by air. Approximately 59 percent 
of the total troop movement to the United 
Kingdom was carried out by the usual 
convoys of slow-moving troop transports. 
But in contrast with the practice of World 
War I, considerable use was made of fast 
passenger liners converted to troopships, 
which could cross the Atlantic unescorted, 
protected only by their speed, submarine 
and plane detection devices, and light 
armament. The largest and fastest of these 
vessels were the British Cunard White 
Star luxury liners, the Queen Mary and 
Queen Elizabeth. The two Queens were capa- 
ble of shuttling back and forth across the 
Atlantic with a remarkably short turn- 
round, each of them making three round 
trips per month and carrying 15,000 
troops on each voyage. These two ships 
alone carried nearly 425,000 American 
troops to the United Kingdom, account- 
ing for 24 percent of the entire build-up. 
Along with several other liners of large 
capacity, such as the Aquitania (a veteran 
of World War I), the Mauretania, the He de 
France, the Nieuw Amsterdam, and the Ber- 
gensfjord, they carried about 36 percent of 
the American troops going to the United 
Kingdom and played a significant and 
often dramatic role in the prologue to 
continental invasion. 9 

The limited port and transportation 
facilities in the United Kingdom were to 
have a much more serious impact on 
cargo shipment than on personnel move- 
ment, and in fact acted as an aggravating 
stricture which dominated the course of 
the supply build-up in the final months 
before D Day. British officials had given 
warning of this potential limiting factor as 
early as January 1943 at the Casablanca 

Conference. The entire problem was more 
fully aired in August 1943, by which time 
the Bolero build-up had finally become a 
definite undertaking and was achieving 
considerable momentum. The reception 
and handling of cargo posed no particular 
problem at that time. Until early 1944, 
when the import program reached its 
peak, there was every assurance that Brit- 
ish labor, with the help of an increasing 
number of U.S. port battalions, could dis- 
charge the tonnages scheduled for ship- 
ment to the United Kingdom. 10 The pe- 
riod of greatest danger for the build-up 
would arrive just before the actual move- 
ment across the Channel, the period in 
which the reception and inland movement 
of Bolero cargo would overlap the move- 
ment of men and supplies into the mar- 
shaling camps and ports. British officials 
pointed out that the resulting strain on 
port, railway, and highway facilities might 
well prove unbearable. Competition for 
the use of those facilities would be even 
further aggravated, they noted, by the 
necessity of withdrawing coastal shipping 
and refitting it for cross-Channel opera- 
tions, since this would divert additional 
traffic to the railways. Moreover, the 
"sterilization" of berths in the southern 
ports for the assembly and loading of 
Overlord vessels would divert Bolero 
shipping to the northern ports, creating 

9 Troop and Supply Buildup in the United King- 
dom to D Day, Pt. Ill of The Administrative and 
Logistical History of the ETO, prep by Hist Div 
USFET, 1946, MS, pp. ,97-98, OCMH; [Harold Lar- 
son] Troop Transports in World War II, Office 
GofT, ASF, Mar 45, MS, pp. 20-23, OCMH. The 
story of troop movement techniques from the Trans- 
portation Corps viewpoint is told in Chester Ward- 
low, The Transportation Corps: Movements, Train- 
ing, and Supply, now in preparation for this series. 

10 Memo for Info 2, Bolero-Sickle Combined 
Committee (W), Incl, Sep 43, ASF Ping Div, Bolero- 
Sickle Com, Series II, A46-183, Item 2. 



an additional burden on the railways be- 
cause of the longer hauls involved. 11 

The increasing strain on inland trans- 
portation facilities was later illustrated in 
the handling of a single convoy in March 
1944, even before the tempo of invasion 
preparations reached its height. This con- 
voy included eighteen fully loaded U.S. 
Army cargo vessels and twenty-four part 
cargoes loaded on regular commercial 
ships. It contained about 1,500 wheeled 
vehicles, tanks, and self-propelled mount- 
ings, 2,000 cased vehicles, 200 aircraft and 
gliders, and about 50,000 tons of supplies. 
All this cargo had to be discharged within 
about eight days, the planned interval be- 
tween convoys. The prompt clearance of 
this cargo from the ports involved the run- 
ning of 75 special trains with 10,000 
loaded cars and the movement by high- 
way of large numbers of wheeled and 
cased vehicles and aircraft. The traffic in 
supplies procured locally from the British, 
and the traffic between U.S. depots, in- 
volved the dispatch of another 8,000 cars 
and the running of 27 trains. The move- 
ment of U.S. Army cargo thus necessitated 
running a minimum of 100 special freight 
trains with 18,000-20,000 loaded cars 
weekly, many of them using routes al- 
ready overburdened with traffic. 12 

The question of port capacity was pri- 
marily one of labor shortages, although 
the availability of berths was also a con- 
sideration. In the spring months the port 
labor problem would inevitably be ag- 
gravated. The British estimated that all 
their military labor would have to be 
withdrawn on 1 April for operational pur- 
poses, and southern ports would require 
an augmented labor force for the outload- 
ing for Overlord. In September British 
officials made it clear that civil labor 
could be made available to handle a max- 

imum of only seventy-five Bolero ships 
per month, and it was agreed by General 
Ross and General Lord that U.S. port 
battalions would be provided to handle 
all ships in excess of that number. To bring 
in the approximately 150 ships per month 
desired in the early months of 1944, U.S. 
port labor might therefore have to handle 
up to one half of all Bolero imports at the 
peak of the build-up. 13 

For these reasons the British felt it im- 
perative that the Bolero shipments be de- 
celerated in the spring of 1944. They 
asserted that the reduction would have to 
start not later than with the March ship- 
ments from the United States if Over- 
lord was to be launched on 1 May. 1 ! At 
Quadrant and again at Sextant they 
had succeeded in imposing a definite ceil- 
ing on the tonnages (actually expressed in 
numbers of ship sailings) which could be 
dispatched to the United Kingdom in the 
next several months. 

In view of the inevitable limitation on 
the reception of Bolero cargo in the 
months just preceding the invasion it was 
logical that an extraordinary effort be 
made to ship cargo to maximum capacity 
in the fall of 1943. Heavy shipping sched- 
ules were in fact set up for the fall and 
winter months, but the low priority of the 
European theater, which in turn was im- 
posed by the unavailability of supplies 
and equipment in the United States pre- 
vented the complete fulfillment of the pre- 

11 Memo, VQMG for WO et aL, 12 Aug 43, 
SHAEF G-4 381 Bolero I 44. 

12 Info Bull 10, Bolero Reception — Accommoda- 
tion—Maintenance, Q(L) Br, 1-31 Mar 44, SHAEF 
G-4 381 Bolero I 44. 

13 Memo of Mtg at WO, 14 Sep 43, SHAEF G-4 
381 Bolero I 44. 

14 Paper by Deputy Dir, Mov and Tn Br, Bolero 
Repercussion on Overlord, 1 1 Aug 43, SHAEF G-4 
381 Bolero I 44. 



shipment program. 15 This most pressing 
of the supply build-up problems — prior- 
ities — was finally settled in December 
1943, when the European theater was as- 
signed top priority for all needed items of 
equipment. Even so, the solution had no 
immediate effect in the theater. Not until 
February did the flood of cargo released 
under the new priorities begin, and even 
this was not reflected in the receipts at 
British ports until the following month. In 
March a record 467,824 long tons arrived 
in the United Kingdom for U.S. forces. 
Preshipped supplies now enjoyed the same 
priority as regular shipments, and in 
March the preshipment program was for- 
mally extended several months beyond 
the first phase troop basis, thus guarantee- 
ing a continued ample availability of sup- 
plies and equipment. 

But it was at precisely this moment that 
port and inland transportation limitations 
in the United Kingdom inexorably im- 
posed themselves on the entire build-up 
program, threatening to nullify the favor- 
able position which the theater had only 
recently attained in the matter of priorities 
and availability of cargo. A large backlog 
of cargo accumulated in the area of the 
New York Port of Embarkation, making it 
necessary for the service chiefs in the thea- 
ter to establish priorities for movement in 
order to insure the shipment of cargo con- 
sidered most essential for the coming 
operation. 16 By 1 May, it was estimated, 
there would be a backlog of approxi- 
mately 540,000 measurement tons at the 
New York Port and a shortage of sixty-one 
ships to move this cargo, even assuming 
that it could be received in the United 
Kingdom. 17 

This development was not entirely un- 
foreseen. At Sextant it was noted that the 
availability of heavy construction equip- 

ment, weapons, and vehicles would in- 
crease very rapidly early in 1944, creating 
a difficult shipping problem for the ports 
of embarkation as well as the U.K. ports 
and forcing shipments in March and April 
beyond the established ceilings. The situa- 
tion was discussed at that time with Gen- 
eral Lee, who advised that, if necessary, 
arrangements could be made to exceed 
the ceilings, and it was therefore hoped 
that, somehow, the cargo would be ac- 
cepted in the United Kingdom. 18 

Realities soon had to be faced. Initially 
a request was made that the ceilings be 
lifted, and for March the allocation of 
shipping was first raised from 109 to 120, 
and then to 140. In April, as a result, a 
record 496,384 lo ng tons re ached the 
United Kingdom. \( Table 6% But these 
shipments in excess of the limits agreed to 
at Sextant were made possible mainly 
because the cross-Channel operation had 
by that time been postponed a month (to 
June), and the pressure on port and trans- 
portation facilities was temporarily re- 
lieved. 19 Other remedies would have to be 
found in succeeding months. 

A partial solution was found in the use 
of shipping to store supplies temporarily 
in U.K. waters until they were required 
either in the United Kingdom or on the 
Continent. The theater made a proposal 

15 Memo, Magruder for Col Witten, Control Div 
ASF, 18 Mar 44, sub: Shipping vs. Cargo, Ping Div 
ASF, A46-371, Shipping File X 44. 

16 Memo, Brig Gen W. A. Wood, Deputy Dir for 
Plans and Opns, ASF, to CG ASF, 13 Apr 44, sub: 
Status of Shipments to U.K., Ping Div ASF, A46-371, 
Shipping File X 44. 

17 Memo, Magruder for Witten, 18 Mar 44, sub: 
Shipping vs. Cargo. 

1S Ibid. 

19 [Richard M. LeightonJThe Problem of Troop 
and Cargo Flow in Preparing the European Invasion, 
1943-44, prep in Hist Sec, Control Div, ASF, 1945, 
MS (hereafter cited as Problem of Troop and Cargo 
Flow), pp. 160-61, OCMH. 


Table 6 — Cargo Flow to the United Kingdom: November 1943— July 1944 

Year and Month 



Measurement Tons 

Long Tons 


Cumulative from 
Jan 42 


from Jan 42 

i a A ^ 


6 935 640 





































* 15,585,161 






a 17,047,606 



» Cumulative totals adjusted in source report with no indication of months in which corrections are applicable. 

Source: Shipment data from [Richard M. Leigh ton] Problem of Troop and Cargo Flow in Preparing the European Invasion, 
1943-44, prep in Hist Sec, Control Div, ASF, 1945, MS, p. 154, OCMH. Receipt data from ETO TC Monthly Progress 
Rpts, Hq SOS, Statistics Br, OC of T, ETO Adm 451-2. 

to this effect in January, asking that a sys- 
tem of "type loading" — more commonly 
known as "prestowage" — be instituted. 
Vessels would be loaded with specified 
blocks of supplies for use on the Continent, 
each ship carrying a spread load of se- 
lected items of supply somewhat analo- 
gous to a general depot. Deck space was to 
be utilized for cargo destined for the 
United Kingdom. After this deck-loaded 
cargo was unloaded, the ships were to be 
consigned to the Continent where they 
could be discharged as needed. The plan 
had obvious advantages: it would save 
four handlings in the United Kingdom 
and would prevent the congestion of port 
and transportation facilities there. 20 As 
finally worked out, the prestowage plan 
provided for the dispatch of fifty-four 
ships loaded with subsistence, landing 

mats, clothing and equipage, and ord- 
nance supplies, and eleven loads of am- 
munition, totaling approximately 500,000 
measurement tons. 

Shortly after the prestowage program 
was accepted, theater representatives of- 
fered a variant of it known as "commod- 
ity loading." This called for the loading of 
an unspecified number of ships (commod- 
ity loaders) either solidly with a single 
type of supply or with closely affiliated 
types of supply. Most suitable for com- 
modity loading were such items as rations, 
ammunition, vehicles, and engineer sup- 
plies. Commodity loaders were easily and 
economically loaded. It was intended that 
they be held in U.K. waters until called to 

20 Ltr, Lee to GG NYPOE, sub: Type Loading, 
21 Jan 44, ASF Ping Div, A46-371, Shipping File 



the Continent, where they could serve 
either as floating depots or for bulk dis- 
charge. Nearly 150 commodity loaders 
and 54 preloaded ships were dispatched to 
Britain in the months of May, June, and 
July 1944, providing the theater with 
something like mobile depots which could 
be moved forward on call to back up any 
particular area. Both practices were costly 
improvisations in that they immobilized 
badly needed shipping for long periods of 
time. Commodity loading had a further 
disadvantage. If the enemy sank a ship so 
loaded, a heavy loss of one particular type 
of supply resulted. For these reasons the 
system was discouraged by the New York 
Port. 21 

In any event these expedients did not 
offer the final solution to the problem of 
cargo reception in the United Kingdom. 
No preloaded or commodity-loaded ships 
were sent to the United Kingdom in 
April. Meanwhile a ceiling of 140 ships 
had been established for acceptance in the 
United Kingdom for that month, repre- 
senting approximately 1,31 0,000 measure- 
ment tons. Shipments actually exceeded 
this figure by some 325,000 tons, with the 
result that many vessels arriving in the 
United Kingdom were forced to stand 
idly by for lack of berthing facilities. In 
May, as fully predicted long before, the 
situation became even worse, for the 
Overlord mounting machinery was set 
in motion. The rising tide of traffic from 
the many depots and camps to the ports of 
embarkation gradually restricted all im- 
portation through these ports and taxed 
to the full the inland transportation sys- 
tem. It was inevitable, therefore, that the 
flow of supplies into the United Kingdom 
would have to be constricted even more. 
Against vigorous opposition from the 
Army Services Forces, the theater an- 
nounced that the discharge ceiling for 

May and June would be lowered from 140 
ships to 120. 22 

Meanwhile, theater officials for their 
part resisted pressure in the United King- 
dom to cut imports any further. Early in 
May British officials were told that 
Bolero shipments could not tolerate ad- 
ditional reductions for June. The provi- 
sion of certain items of equipment for 
combat units was already critically be- 
hind schedule, and it looked at that time 
as though the Third Army would have 
only 60 percent of its wheeled equip- 
ment. 23 By the middle of the month, with 
the mounting process in full swing, the 
disparity between ship arrivals and port 
discharge capacity had become sufficiently 
serious to force a showdown on the entire 
problem. On 18 May SOS officials re- 
ported to the New York Port that British 
ports simply could not accommodate 
Bolero cargoes at the rate at which they 
were arriving. Between 35 and 40 ships in 
excess of available berths were arriving in 
May, most of them with critically needed 
supplies. British officials stood firm in 
their insistence that Bolero arrivals could 
be discharged only within the agreed-on 
monthly totals and that 120 ships was the 
absolute maximum that could be accepted 
in May. 24 To meet the increasing outload- 

21 Problem of Troop and Cargo Flow, pp. 154-60; 
Ltr, Lord to Lee, 3 Apr 44, sub: Rpt on ETOUSA 
Supply Mission to U.S., ETO Rpt of ETOUSA Sup- 
ply Mission. 

22 Memo, Col Magruder for Gen Wylie, 14 Apr 
44, sub; Ships set up for U.K. in May and Jun, ASF 
Ping Div, A46-37 1, Shipping File X 44; Problem of 
Troop and Cargo Flow, p. 162. 

23 Memo, Col K. F. Hausauer, Chief Movements 
Sec SHAEF, for Maj Gen Charles S. Napier, 4 May 
44, SHAEF G-4 381 Bolero I 44. 

24 TWX Conf, ETO with NYPOE, 18 May 44, 
EUCOM AG 560 Vessels I 44; TWX Conf with 
NYPOE, 22 May 44, EUCOM AG 337 NYPOE I 
44; Ltr, Lord Frederick Leathers to Philip Reed, U.S. 
Embassy, 19 May 44, EUCOM AG 381 Bolero; see 
also ASF file, ETO— 1st half 1944. 



ing requirements for Overlord it had al- 
ready been necessary to allocate additional 
berths in the southern ports, which en- 
tailed handling a still greater portion of 
the incoming traffic in the northern ports 
and throwing an additional strain on the 
railways. Some British officials feared that 
the opportunity was being taken to clear 
U.S. ports irrespective of the congestion 
thus caused in those of the United King- 
dom. Plans were even made to dump 
cargo in the streets and open spaces near 
the ports, where storage capacity was 
already taken up. 25 

Barely two weeks before D Day the im- 
passe was finally resolved at the highest 
levels in the United Kingdom. On 20 May 
General Eisenhower appealed to the 
Prime Minister. Admitting that the im- 
port ceilings had been exceeded by nearly 
forty ships, he cited as the chief reason 
that it had been impossible to ship cargo 
in the desired quantities during the fall 
months of 1943 when the U.K. ports could 
have accepted it. These vessels contained 
large quantities of supplies and equipment 
vital to the success of operation Over- 
lord. Eisenhower assured the Prime Min- 
ister that the matter was of grave 
importance, and stated that it was imper- 
ative that the ships be discharged. 26 As he 
later reported to the War Department, 
"We have simply developed one of those 
bottlenecks (for no one is at fault for it) in- 
cident to big operations." 27 A few days 
later the Supreme Commander met with 
Mr. Churchill and Lord Frederick 
Leathers, the Minister of War Transport, 
and prevailed upon them to adopt the 
only obvious solution — a cut in the British 
import program. That program had been 
subject to repeated changes. Now the Brit- 
ish agreed to delay the delivery of 500,000 
tons of cargo to make berths available for 
the Bolero vessels, with the understand- 

ing that the United States would provide 
assistance later in the year to make up this 
loss. 28 

This adjustment averted the worst ef- 
fects of the port crisis. After June the port 
capacity of the United Kingdom would 
gradually be supplemented by and even- 
tually superseded by that of the continen- 
tal beaches and ports which would receive 
cargo directly from the United States. But 
for the next few months British port ca- 
pacity would definitely be limited, and the 
Army Service Forces was urged to adhere 
closely to the theater's loading requests 
and priority lists for the ships intended for 
both U.K. and continental discharge. 
General Lutes of the ASF, on the basis of 
his own observations of the congested 
ports in the United Kingdom, accordingly 
instructed the New York Port to accede to 
the theater's wishes in these matters so 
that the delivery of vitally needed equip- 
ment would be expedited. 29 By other spe- 
cial measures it was possible to maintain a 
tremendous flow of cargo to the United 
Kingdom in the final months preceding 
the invasion. The crisis over port capac- 
ities nevertheless had illustrated a very 
fundamental logistical paradox: the threat 
that the invasion forces might not be 
equipped in the presence of plenty. The 

25 Memo, First Sea Lord, on Trans- Atlantic Con- 
voys, 23 May 44, SHAEF SGS 540 Shipping Prob- 
lems; History of the Transportation Corps, ETO, 
prep by Int and Hist Br, Ping Div, Office CofT ETO, 
1944, MS, Vol. Ill (April-June 1944), Movements 
Sec, p. 8, ETO Adm 582. 

26 Ltr, Eisenhower to Prime Minister, 20 May 44, 
EUCOM AG 560 AT Transports, Vessels, etc., I 44, 

27 Cbl S-52375, Eisenhower to Marshall, 23 May 
44, Eyes Only Cbl File, ETO, 1943-45, Smith Papers. 

28 Ibid.; Cbl WAR-4559, JCS to SHAEF, 2 Jun 44, 
P&O Cbl Files. 

29 Cbl EX-29448, Lee to Somervell, 25 May 44, 
SHAEF G-4 381 Bolero I 44; Ltr, Lutes to Good- 
man, 25 May 44, ASF Ping Div, A46-37 I, Shipping 
File X 44; TWX Confs, COMZ ETO with NYPOE, 
25, 26, and 27 May 44, EUCOM 337 NYPE, I. 



limiting factor of 1943 — shortage of sup- 
plies in the United States — was now hav- 
ing its long-range effect on the ability to 
equip the Overlord forces, threatening 
an artificial shortage in the spring of 1944 
because of a new limiting factor — the in- 
ability of the British ports to receive the 
cargo now becoming available. 

In the final month of preparation 600,- 
000 long tons of supplies arrived in the 
United Kingdom, and cargo continued to 
arrive in unprecedented volume for an- 
other two months. The May receipts had 
the followingxomposition: 30 

Type Tons 

Total 599,739 

Quartermaster 137,729 

Ordnance, Total 296,523 

Ammunition 101,523 

Unassembled vehicles . . . 73,436 

Assembled vehicles and 

tanks 65,248 

General 56,316 

Engineer 55,984 

Air Force 26,880 

Transportation 22 ,5 1 8 

Miscellaneous 60,105 

Of the May total, 567,268 long tons ar- 
rived on 141 regular Bolero ships, and 
32,471 tons as part cargoes on 95 other 
vessels. By 31 May a cumulative total of 
5,297,306 long tons, or 14,050,290 meas- 
urement tons had been received in the 
United Kingdom. 

(2) Construction and Local Procurement, 
1943-May 1944 

For more than six months after the 
North African operation was launched, 
the limitations imposed by the War De- 
partment had circumscribed development 
of administrative facilities for U.S. forces 
in the United Kingdom. Except for the 

beginning made toward meeting the en- 
larged air force requirements, the Amer- 
icans could offer little assistance in the 
construction program. Fortunately British 
officials had continued with portions of it, 
and in May 1943 the Trident decisions 
injected new life into the program. In re- 
viving the Bolero build-up, these deci- 
sions inevitably had a corollary impact on 
U.K. plans for accommodating the 
Bolero force. The Combined Chiefs of 
Staff had noted in their final report to the 
President and Prime Minister that "the 
expansion of logistical facilities in the 
United Kingdom will be undertaken 
immediately." 31 

Within a few days of the Washington 
Conference General Lee and others of his 
staff, including his Chief Engineer, Gen- 
eral Moore, met with the British Quarter- 
master General, Gen. Sir T. S. Riddell- 
Webster, and other British officers to 
initiate planning for the revived Bolero. 
Six weeks later, on 12 July 1943, the Dep- 
uty Quartermaster General (Liaison) is- 
sued the fourth and last edition of the 
Bolero Key Plan for the reception, ac- 
commodation and maintenance of U.S. 
forces in the United Kingdom. The fourth 
edition of the plan did not differ substan- 
tially from the earlier editions except to 
bring them up to date by reflecting the 
most recent build-up schedules. It used 
the round figure of 1 ,340,000 for the build- 
up expected by 30 April 1944, thus allow- 
ing a small margin of safety over the figure 
used at Trident (1,300,300). 32 Finally, in 
October the figure was raised to 1,446,100 

30 Info Bull 12, Bolero, Q(L) Br, 1-31 May 44, 
SHAEF G-4 381 Bolero I 44. 
:11 CCS 242/6, 25 May 43. 

32 Key Plan for the Reception, Accommodation 
and Maintenance of the U.S. Forces, Fourth Edition, 
12 Jul 43, Q(L) Paper 12, ETO, Fourth Key Plan. 



in an amendment reflecting the new troop 
build-up schedule agreed to at the Quad- 
rant Conference in August. 33 

Since the scheduled U.S. troop build-up 
represented an increase over that used in 
earlier plans, the Fourth Edition also 
called for an enlarged accommodations 
plan, and therefore entailed a larger con- 
struction program. Within the U.S. Army 
in the United Kingdom the provision of 
all facilities, by construction or other 
means, was the responsibility of the chief 
engineer. The requirements of the various 
services were first co-ordinated and con- 
solidated by the Installations Branch, 
G-4, SOS, which administered the entire 
accommodations plan. Once these require- 
ments were determined, however, it was 
the responsibility of the Engineer Service 
to acquire the facilities. The Engineer 
Service, in turn, arranged for the con- 
struction of the needed facilities, or for the 
transfer of existing accommodations, with 
the Office of the British Quartermaster 
General (or Q Branch), its principal point 
of contact with that agency on policy 
matters being the Quartermaster Liaison 
Branch, Q(Liaison), which had been 
specifically set up under General Wootten 
for that purpose in 1942. 

When adequate facilities did not exist or 
could not be transferred for American 
use, the U.S. base section engineer and 
the British command concerned selected a 
site where the accommodation could be 
constructed, and the Q Branch was then 
asked to requisition the property. Once a 
project was approved, the actual con- 
struction of the new facility might involve 
several British government departments. 
The Ministry of Works and Planning, 
which supervised the entire project and 
constructed the hospitals and many of the 
depots and camps, had to turn to the 

Ministry of Supply for materials and to 
the Ministry of Labor for workers. The 
Ministry of War Transport constructed 
railways, roads, hardstandings, and docks. 
The Ministry of Agriculture arranged for 
the clearance of land needed for the new 

Much of the real work was accomplished 
at lower levels. Within the Office of the 
Chief Engineer, SOS, it was the Construc- 
tion and Quartering Division which was 
in actual charge of the accommodations 
program, and had direct contacts with the 
various British directorates under the 
Deputy Quartermaster General and En- 
gineer-in-Chief, such as the Directorates 
of Quartering, Movement, Transportation, 
Fortifications and Works, and Engineer 
Stores. Once it was determined that the 
necessary labor and materials were avail- 
able, details of the project were worked 
out between the U.S. base section engineer 
and the corresponding British command, 
and construction could then proceed. The 
procedure for arranging for new construc- 
tion was a cumbersome one, particularly 
in the early stages, each project requiring 
the approval of several agencies in the 
War Office. The resulting delays often 
tried the patience of American authorities, 
for on the U.S. side construction was much 
more decentralized, the base section and 
district commanders having considerably 
more leeway to authorize expenditures for 
construction projects. 34 On the other hand, 
British officials were exasperated by the 

33 Amendment 1 to Fourth Edition, Key Plan, 30 
Oct 43, Q(L) 1/10 Paper 13, ETO, Fourth Key Plan. 

34 Final Report of the Chief Engineer, ETO, 1942- 
45, prep in Office CofEngrs ETO, 1946, MS (here- 
after cited as Final Engineer Report, ETO), I, 229—32, 
OCMH; Construction in the United Kingdom, MS, 
pp. 11-12, ETO Adm 506; Maj. Gen. A. G. B. 
Buchanan, "Bolero," The Royal Engineers Journal, LIX 
(September, 1945), 185-86. 



repeated modifications in the plans of the 

Virtually all construction in the United 
Kingdom was carried out to meet estab- 
lished War Office standards on such 
matters as space scales, types of huts, 
methods of flooring in hospitals, layouts 
for buildings, and screening and blackout 
facilities. U.S. scales differed from the 
British, and some modifications were 
made to meet American requirements, but 
U.S. standards had to be relaxed some- 
what to meet accommodations require- 
ments in the fall of 1943 when U.S. troops 
began to arrive in great numbers. 

U.S. War Department construction 
designs proved of little use, for they called 
for a much greater quantity of wood than 
was available in the United Kingdom. 
British resources and practice dictated a 
much more extensive use of tile, plaster- 
board, sheet steel, corrugated iron, and 
precast concrete, and most facilities there- 
fore took the form of steel Nissen huts, 
curved asbestos or prefabricated concrete 
huts for housing, and various types of steel 
huts for covered storage and shops. U.S. 
troop labor was not accustomed to work- 
ing with these materials and required 
additional training. The use of these mate- 
rials also resulted in the construction of 
more durable structures than was custom- 
ary in a theater of war. 

British and U.S. construction methods 
also contrasted because of the difference 
in tools and equipment. In general, U.S. 
engineer units were equipped with heavier- 
duty machinery, best suited for work on 
large projects such as depot and airfield 
construction in which extensive earth- 
moving jobs and concrete construction 
were called for. Much of the work that 
British labor had to perform by hand was 
carried out with patrol graders, bull- 

dozers, mobile cranes, paving and trench- 
ing machines, and post-hole diggers where 
U.S. engineers were employed. By the 
time U.S. units so equipped arrived in 
England many of the larger construction 
projects had already been assigned to 
British labor, both civil and military, and 
U.S. engineers initially were dispersed over 
a number of minor jobs for which they 
were not best suited. Not until the large 
depots and airfields were authorized in 
1943 were they utilized to best advantage. 35 
Bolero construction policy from the 
beginning envisaged that all labor and 
materials would be provided by the 
British, with only incidental help from 
U.S. engineer units. But it was soon ap- 
parent that construction requirements 
would exceed British capacities. U.S. 
forces were therefore called on to provide 
a substantial contribution in materials and 
equipment as well as in military labor, 
and it became necessary to requisition 
items like lumber, cement, and pipe from 
U.S. depots. 

The Fourth Key Plan, as amended in 
October 1943, estimated that the U.S. 
Army would require accommodations for 
1,027,400 ground and service troops in the 
United Kingdom by 1 May 1944. In addi- 
tion, the British War Office undertook a 
commitment to provide quarters for 33,000 
U.S. air force personnel, the bulk of the 
air force requirements remaining the re- 
sponsibility of the British Air Ministry. 
The War Office program therefore called 
for 1,060,400 spaces. 36 

This housing was acquired either by 
billeting, by the transfer of existing ac- 

35 Buchanan, op. cit., pp. 185-86; Final Engineer 
Report, ETO, I, 232-34". 

36 Amendment 1 to Fourth Edition, Key Plan, 30 
Oct 43, Q(L) 1/10 Paper 13, ETO, Fourth Key Plan. 



commodations, or by new construction. 
Billeting of troops in British homes was 
avoided as long as possible and remained 
on a voluntary basis until the end of 1943. 
Requisitioning was resorted to only when 
the build-up reached its peak in the winter 
and spring months. Although some inci- 
dents caused bad feelings between civilian 
householders and soldiers, most of the ap- 
prehensions and anxieties regarding the 
effect on Anglo-American relations proved 
unfounded. 37 About 1 10,000 billets were 
provided for American troops, accounting 
for a small portion of the total personnel 

Approximately 60 percent of all troop 
quarters were acquired by requisition or 
transfer of existing facilities, the remain- 
ing 40 percent consisting of new construc- 
tion. Most of the accommodations turned 
over by the British required additional 
work to bring them up to U.S. standards. 
Americans were notoriously wasteful in 
their use of water, for example, and addi- 
tional facilities had to be constructed to 
provide an adequate supply. New accom- 
modations took the form of tented ex- 
pansions of existing camps, hutted camps, 
winter tented camps, and summer tented 
camps, and did not come into extensive 
use until late in 1943. Since U.S. troop 
labor for construction work was lacking 
earlier in the year, U.S. scales of accom- 
modation were reduced to scales com- 
parable with the British, and maximum 
use was made of existing facilities. Most 
familiar of the various camp structures 
was the Nissen hut, a utilitarian structure 
which was used for living quarters, admin- 
istration buildings, hospitals, mess halls, 
bath houses, and a variety of other pur- 
poses. A typical 1,000-man Nissen hut 
camp contained 123 buildings and covered 
about 40 acres. Tented accommodations 

were built to U.S. designs and caused no 
great difficulty. A typical 1,000-man 
tented camp contained about 200 tents 
and covered 34 acres. 

The Bolero housing program met re- 
quirements with remarkable accuracy. 
Available accommodations totaled 1,206,- 
349 at the end of May, at which time the 
ground and service force troop strength 
was approximately 1,100,000. Since only 
about 90 percent of theoretical capacity 
could be counted on because unit strengths 
did not exactly coincide with camp capac- 
ities, the available housing almost exactly 
met U.S. needs. At no time was there an 
actual shortage. 

The Air Ministry had provided accom- 
modations, in addition to those under the 
Bolero program, for 442,170 U.S. air 
force troops, bringing the total to 1,648,- 
519. Another substantial addition in the 
housing program over and above the 
Bolero needs had been made in the spring 
of 1944, when it was decided to prepare 
for bivouac camp facilities for 17 1,250 ex- 
tra troops that would have to be accom- 
modated in the event of a delay in launch- 
ing the Overlord operation. Tented facil- 
ities were built in the marshaling areas 
near the ports to accommodate another 
200,000 troops during the mounting 
phases of the cross-Channel attack. The 
aggregate of all personnel accommoda- 
tions provided U.S. troops in the United 
Kingdom just before D Day therefore 
totaled 2,021,387. The types and sources 
of these accommodations are summarized 
in the table on the following page. 38 

37 Basic Needs of the ETO Soldier, Pt. XI of The 
Administrative and Logistical History of the ETO, 
MS, Vol. I, Ch. Ill, pp. 43ff., OGMH. 

38 Final Engineer Report, ETO, I, 237-39, 250, and 
II, App. 24; Construction in the United Kingdom, 
pp. 13-15. 



Acquired or Constructed by: 
Type Total Requisitioned U. S. Army British 

Total in United Kingdom 2, 021, 387 ( a ) ( a ) (a) 

Total Bolero Program 1,206,349 729, 107 348, 503 128,739 

Hutted camps 665,986 612, 131 50,230 3,625 

Expansions to hutted camps 56,985 12,930 44,055 

Expansions in winterized tents 59,687 59, 687 

Summer tented camps 192, 564 179, 064 13, 500 

Winterized tented camps 30, 470 30, 470 

Accommodations at hospitals 56, 437 5, 386 672 50, 379 

Accommodations at depots 32, 630 15, 450 17, 180 

Billets Ill, 590 111, 590 

Total U. S. Air Forces 442, 170 37, 024 404, 606 

Existing facilities 37, 024 37, 024 

Hutted camps 348, 436 348, 436 

Tents 56,170 56, 170 

Total Overlord 372, 868 ( b ) ( b ) ( b ) 

Mounting accommodations 201, 618 ( b ) ( b ) ( b ) 

Bivouac facilities 171,250 ( b ) ( b ) ( b ) 

a Not available because of lack of Overlord data. 
b Not determined in source report. 

Provision of hospital requirements did initially met by the transfer of certain per- 
not proceed as smoothly. Hospital con- manent military hospitals and also several 
struction had lower priority than either Emergency Medical Service hospitals. But 
depot or personnel needs. Its high build- the Bolero planners had estimated that 
ing standards meant detailed supervision the great bulk of U.S. requirements would 
and greater demands for skilled labor and have to be met by the use of militia, con- 
scarce materials. Furthermore, it was a version, and dual-purpose camps, and by 
considerably larger undertaking because the construction of regular station and 
existing facilities met only a small fraction general hospitals. In 1943 the acquisition 
of the total needs, and it was thus neces- of hospitals proceeded on the basis of the 
sary to provide the great bulk of medical 90,000-bed requirements estimated in the 
facilities through new construction. The Second Edition of the Bolero plan. In 
various sources of hospital facilities have order to give some stability to the hitherto 
already been described. A small percent- uncertain construction plans, the chief 
age of the eventual U.S. requirements was surgeon announced in June 1943 that the 



goal would be to procure facilities with 
90,000 to 95,000 fixed beds. 39 This program 
remained fairly stable despite the fact that 
the Fourth Edition of the Key Plan, issued 
the following month, called for a larger 
troop build-up than before and stated a 
requirement for 103,690 beds. 

Hospital capacities had already been 
altered in the Second Edition of July 1942, 
when station hospitals were increased in 
size from 750 to 834 beds, and general 
hospitals from 1,000 to 1,082 beds. The in- 
creased requirements were to be met 
largely through expansions of hospitals al- 
ready planned. The first step in this ex- 
pansion was taken in the summer of 1943 
when the Surgeon General of the Army 
urged that a greater number of 1 ,000-bed 
hospital units be utilized in the United 
Kingdom. Such an increase of general 
hospitals required the expansion of the 
834-bed station hospitals. Under new aus- 
terity quartering scales these station hos- 
pital plants were able to accommodate the 
staff personnel of a 1,000-bed general hos- 
pital with but little additional construc- 
tion, and some of the station hospital units 
were eventually replaced or expanded to 
1,000-bed units. 40 

In January 1944 plans were made to in- 
crease the patient capacity of all station 
and general hospitals by 30,000 beds. U.S. 
troop labor was to be used for the job of 
providing 27,750 beds in tented expan- 
sions, using standard war tents adjacent to 
existing hospital wards, and an additional 
2,250 beds in three 750-bed, completely 
tented hospitals. The labor force was re- 
cruited chiefly from medical operating 
personnel not immediately needed in 
their assigned role, and the engineer serv- 
ice performed the necessary siting and 
technical assistance. Plans were also made 
for an additional 10,907 expansion beds 

to be set up in existing wards. By the be- 
ginning of June, after many changes, the 
hospital program called for 93,280 fixed 
beds and 40,907 tented expansion beds, or 
a total of 134, 187. 41 This was a maximum 
program, however, and was not expected 
to be completed for several months. The 
fixed bed portion of the program was to be 

met as follows: 42 

Total 93,280 

Existing beds 11 ,746 

Expansions. 5,597 

New hospitals 47,508 

35 station 29,106 
17 general 18,402 

Convertible 28,429 

Militia barracks 1 4,929 

Conversion camps 7,500 
Dual-purpose 6,000 

The hospital construction program 
lagged from the beginning. As usual, the 
principal reason was the shortage of labor, 
particularly in the skilled categories re- 
quired in this type of construction. Build- 
ing a hospital was a considerably more 
complex undertaking than building a bar- 
racks or a warehouse. Special attention 
had to be given such matters as the instal- 
lation of special electrical and plumbing 
fixtures, steam boilers, and hot-water gen- 
erating systems. Innumerable complica- 
tions attended the construction and opera- 
tion of medical facilities. Mechanical 
dishwashers, for example, required addi- 
tional construction because British- 
designed grease traps could not cope with 
the large amount of fats present in Ameri- 

39 Administrative and Logistical History of the 
Medical Service, Com Z, ETO, prep by Office, Chief 
Surgeon, ETO, 1945, MS, Gh. II, pp. 48-49, ETO 

40 Ibid., Ch. II, p. 51, Gh. VII, p. 20. 

4] 1 Ibid., Gh. VII, p. 26; Final Engineer Report, 
ETO, I, 240. 

42 Buchanan, op. ext., p. 187. 




can foods. This also created an additional 
problem at the sewage disposal plants, 
where grease fouled up the filtering beds. 
Even the type of flooring used in operating 
rooms took on such importance as to 
require high-level policy decision. 

The majority of the newly constructed 
hospitals eventually consisted of 834- and 
1,082-bed installations based on standard 
layouts designed by British experts and 
approved by American engineers and 
medical officers, although there were devi- 
ations to* meet local conditions. While 
some were built of brick, most hospitals 
utilized Nissen huts, the standard 1,082- 
bed installations requiring about 160 
buildings and 50 acres of land. Many were 

located on landed estates, miles from a 
railway and requiring completely new 
water and sewage disposal systems. 43 

By D Day 59,424 fixed beds of the origi- 
nal Bolero program were in operation, 
and 24,786 of the tented expansions were 
completed, bringing the available facilities 
at that time to 74 hospitals (43 general 
and 31 station) with 84,210 beds. 44 While 

4:1 Final Engineer Report, ETO, I, 242-43. 

44 ETO Medical Service History, Ch. VII, pp. 
27-29. The Final Engineer Report, ETO, I, 43, states 
that only 63,389 beds were available on D Day, since 
it does not list any tented expansions as completed at 
that time. The theater medical history, however, lists 
74 hospitals with specific tabulations of normal plant 
beds and expansion beds in each. The discrepancy is 
not explained. 




Acquired or 

Constructed by: 




U> S. Army 


Covered storage and shop . . 

sq. ft. 

19, 905, 070 

13, 415, 735 

2, 567, 351 

3, 921, 984 

Opening and hardstanding , 

sq. ft. 

43, 411,525 

5, 486, 880 

22, 214, 307 

15, 710, 338 

Roads and railways .... 





POL storage 


173, 325 

4, 005 

163, 965 

5, 355 

Vehicle storage 


48, 350 

6, 100 

39, 250 

2, 000 

Ammunition storage. . . . 


448, 100 

148, 000 

177, 000 

123, 100 

the completed construction thus fell short 
of the target of the Bolero Fourth Edi- 
tion, the deficiency was not as serious as it 
first appears. Shortly after D Day the evac- 
uated militia, dual-purpose, and conver- 
sion camps were turned to hospital use. 
General Hawley, the chief surgeon, was 
satisfied, as D Day approached, that the 
facilities would be adequate, and had par- 
ticular praise for the quality of the physi- 
cal plant. British construction had main- 
tained a high standard, and the program 
had been carried out at considerably lower 
cost than would have been possible in the 
United States. 45 

The depot program proved to be the 
best organized and best executed of all the 
Bolero accommodation plans, despite the 
fears of 1942 that storage space would fall 
short of requirements. Its success was due 
in part to the fact that depot construction 
was accorded the highest priority and did 
not suffer as much from the shortage of 
labor and materials, and also to the fact 
that existing facilities provided more than 
two thirds of the required covered storage 
space. The Engineer Corps, either by ac- 
quisition or new construction, eventually 
provided almost 20,000,000 square feet of 
covered storage and shop space (of which 
only 6,500,000 square feet was new con- 
struction), 43,500,000 square feet of open 
storage and hardstandings, and additional 
facilities for the storage of 450,000 tons of 
ammunition, 175,000 tons of POL, and 

vehicle parks for nearly 50,000 vehicles. 
Not all of these facilities were in use on 
D Day. Their source is tabulated above. 46 
Insofar as possible, storage facilities, like 
other accommodations, were constructed 
according to standard layouts. A model 
general depot was planned and first built 
at Wem, near Shrewsbury in western Eng- 
land. It had 450,240 square feet of covered 
storage, 1,375,000 feet of open storage, and 
personnel accommodations for 1 ,250. 
Construction was begun in December 
1942 and the depot was completed in June 
of the following year at a cost of $2,360,- 
000. On this model five other depots, com- 
monly known as "Wems," were then built, 
one each at Boughton in Nottinghamshire, 
at Histon near Cambridge, at Honey- 
bourne northeast of Cheltenham, at Lock- 
erly near Salisbury, and at Mor eton-on- 
Lugg northwest of Cheltenham. |(Affljfr 6)\ 
Those at Histon and Lockerly were built 
entirely by U.S. troops, and all took 
roughly six months to complete. The larg- 
est depot of all was constructed at Sud- 
bury-Egginton, near Burton-upon-Trent, 
with more than 1,000,000 square feet of 
covered and 9,500,000 square feet of open 
space. It was built entirely by the British 
at a cost of approximately $6,600,000. 47 

45 Maj Gen Paul R. Hawley, The European Thea- 
ter of Operations, May 44, MS, p. 10, ETO Adm 519. 

46 Final Engineer Report, ETO, I, 244-45, II, 
App. 26. 

47 Buchanan, op. cit., pp. 186-87. All dollar values 
represent pounds converted at the rate of 4 to 1, 
which was the approximate exchange rate at the time. 

H Damon 

MAP 6 



One of the biggest problems in depot 
construction was locating adequate foot- 
ing for open storage of the generally heav- 
ier American equipment. Soil conditions 
were generally unfavorable in the United 
Kingdom, for the water table was very 
close to the surface. This created special 
problems in drainage and surfacing before 
adequate hardstandings were developed. 
Progress was generally good on the con- 
struction program, and the British minis- 
tries made every effort to make available 
the needed labor and materials. Even so, 
it was necessary to employ U.S. troop la- 
bor to complete the program, and Ameri- 
can engineer units in the end accounted 
for more than half of the total man-hours 
expended on new construction. At the end 
of May 1944 the Bolero storage program 
was almost 100 percent complete, the only 
deficit being in POL storage. At that time 
the ground and service force depot struc- 
ture in the United Kingdom consisted of 
the following major installations in use: 48 

Type Number 

General Depots. 18 

Branch Depots: 

QM Service Depots 13 

POL Depots 14 

Ordnance Service Depots 17 

Ammunition Depots 9 

Vehicle Parks 12 

Transportation Corps Depots ... 2 

Chemical Warfare Depots 1 

Engineer Depots 1 

Medical Depots 4 

Signal Depots 3 

Except for hospital facilities and a small 
number of personnel accommodations the 
Bolero program included none of the air 
force requirements, for these were met al- 
most wholly by other plans carried out by 
the Air Ministry and the Royal Air Force. 
On the U.S. side, however, the SOS was 

responsible for meeting the air force as 
well as ground and service force require- 
ments, and this task was also delegated to 
the chief engineer. The only basic differ- 
ence in carrying out the two programs was 
that in the case of air force projects the 
chief engineer, on behalf of the air force 
engineer, dealt with the Air Ministry 
rather than the War Office. The chief en- 
giner of the air force prepared the state- 
ment of air force construction and quar- 
tering needs, transmitted them to the chief 
engineer of the SOS, who then requested 
the Air Ministry to provide the needed fa- 
cilities, just as he also requested similar 
implementation of ground and service 
force needs under the Bolero program- 
In the Air Ministry the chief adminis- 
trative officer corresponding to the Quar- 
termaster General in the War Office was 
the Air Minister for Supply and Organi- 
zation (AMSO). Like the War Office, the 
Air Ministry created a separate liaison 
agency as the chief point of contact with 
the U.S. chief engineer. It was known as 
the Assistant Directorate of Organization 
(U.S.), or ADO(US). 

The procedure of implementing the en- 
tire air force construction and quartering 
program therefore paralleled very closely 
the procedure for the Bolero program, 
and at lower echelons there was the same 
type of direct liaison, in this case between 

48 SOS ETO Installations and Operating Personnel 
in United Kingdom, 1 Jun 44, prep by Statistical Sec, 
SGS Hq ETO, ETO Adm 449. There is some dis- 
crepancy between the totals of depot space as given 
by this source and the Final Engineer Report. The 
totals given on page 248, above, evidently represent 
the total space made available over a period of two 
years. The periodic ETOUSA-SOS tabulation for 1 
June indicates that only 18,000,000 square feet of cov- 
ered space and 36,000,000 square feet of open space 
were assigned to SOS units at that date, and that only 
13,000,000 square feet of covered space and 20,500,- 
000 square feet of open space were then in use. 



the base section and Air Ministry field 
personnel. Once a project was approved in 
the Air Ministry, the actual job was car- 
ried out by the Director General of Works, 
a civilian heading a civilian engineering 
and clerical staff, who executed the project 
through contracts with civilian firms. 

As with Bolero, it was fully intended 
that the British should take care of all air 
force needs. But it became immediately 
apparent that British labor, material, and 
equipment resources would not be suffi- 
cient. As early as May 1942 agreement 
was reached that U.S. forces should as- 
sume responsibility for the construction of 
twenty heavy-bomber airfields. Eventually 
twenty-four aviation engineer battalions 
built fourteen bomber fields and also ac- 
complished a vast amount of construction 
work on other facilities, such as headquar- 
ters installations and depots. 

Another early agreement provided that 
Royal Air Force scales would prevail in 
the construction of U.S. installations. For 
all heavy-bomber airfields the Works Di- 
rectorate of the Air Ministry prepared 
standard layouts that specified the num- 
ber and size of runways, the number of 
personnel accommodations and repair 
shops, and the storage facilities to be pro- 
vided for ammunition and gasoline. 
Heavy-bomber stations were built at an 
average cost of about $4,000,000. Each re- 
quired more than 400,000 square feet of 
covered accommodations, and had run- 
ways equal to nearly 20 miles of concrete 
road 20 feet wide. 49 

Rigid adherence to blueprints produced 
difficulties. American B-17's and B-24's 
put excessive strain on the six-inch con- 
crete runways of British fields, and all run- 
ways used by the U.S. air forces had to be 
capped with a new eight-inch concrete 
slab or resurfaced with other materials. So 

great was the deterioration on airfield 
runways that approximately 25 percent of 
the gross labor employed was eventually 
expended in maintenance. The ruling that 
U.S. air force personnel should be pro- 
vided with accommodations on scales 
identical with those of the Royal Air Force 
also resulted in certain inequities favoring 
air force units over ground and service 
force personnel, for British air force ac- 
commodation scales were higher than 
those for ground units. 

The air force construction program was 
a victim of substantially the same limita- 
tions as the Bolero projects. An acute 
shortage of labor hampered the program 
at all times; materials were in critically 
short supply; and British contractors for 
the most part lacked the heavy construc- 
tion equipment with which the American 
engineer battalions were favored. Never- 
theless, the air force program enjoyed a 
high priority, and was completed substan- 
tially as planned in the spring of 1944 at 
the height of the bomber offensive against 
Germany. After many revisions, air force 
plans as finally stabilized in November 
1943 called for 126 airfields, exactly the 
number occupied by U.S. air forces at the 
end of May 1944. In addition, 6 base air 
depots, 11 ordnance air depots, and 11 
ammunition depots, and many other in- 
stallations had been made available to 
USSTAF, with a total closed storage and 
shop space of more than 10,000,000 square 
feet. The 442,000 personnel accommoda- 
tions have already been mentioned in con- 
nection with the Bolero program. The 
cost of the air force construction program 
came to roughly $440,000,000. 50 

With the exception of the deficit in 

49 Buchanan, op. cit., p. 189. 

50 Final Engineer Report, I, 250-61, II, App. 28; 
Buchanan, op. cit., p. 189. 



medical facilities noted above, the mam- 
moth construction program, begun two 
years before, was virtually complete on 
the eve of the invasion. It was accom- 
plished despite innumerable handicaps, 
the principal limiting factor being the per- 
sistent deficiency of of both materials and 
manpower. American requirements were 
not the only demand on available re- 
sources, and had to be integrated with 
British needs. Administrative difficulties, 
among them the lack of parallelism in 
British and American methods of opera- 
tion, and the different standards and 
scales also hampered the program, al- 
though these were successfully overcome. 
At times there was indecision as to 
whether to emphasize speed or quality. In 
the view of U.S. forces, British labor poli- 
cies made for inefficiency. British civilian 
workmen had a limited mobility and 
adhered to traditional, and often time-con- 
suming, construction practices. The qual- 
ity of their work was usually high, how- 
ever, and in fairness it must be noted that 
the cream of British labor was in the 
armed services. The physical condition of 
troop labor, army discipline, and the ad- 
vantage of more modern heavy equip- 
ment, all resulted in a higher rate of pro- 
duction per man where service engineer 
units were employed. 

A summation of the accomplishment 
provides some impressive statistics. At the 
end of May there had been made avail- 
able to U.S. forces in the United Kingdom 
accommodations for 1,600,000 persons, 
30,000,000 square feet of covered storage 
and shop space, 43,500,000 square feet of 
open storage space, hospitals with a ca- 
pacity of 84,000 beds, 126 airfields, and 
many other facilities such as shops for the 
assembly of locomotives and freight cars, 
tire, tank, and vehicle repair shops, and 

chemical impregnating plants. The esti- 
mated value of these installations, either 
transferred to or built for American use, 
was nearly one billion dollars. Of this total, 
nearly two thirds represented expenditure 
for new construction, the breakdown of 
which is shown below: 51 

Total $664,000,000 

Bolero 200,000,000 

dations $59,200,000 
Hospitals 57,200,000 
Depots and 

shops 50,800,000 
ous 32,800,000 

Air Forces 440,000,000 

Overlord mounting installa- 
tions 24,000,000 

All facilities turned over to the U.S. forces 
or specifically built for them remained the 
property of the British and were acquired 
by the Americans on a rental basis. 

At the peak of construction activity ap- 
proximately 56,000 civilians and 51,000 
troops (both British and American) were 
employed, the larger portion of the civil- 
ian labor being employed on air force 
projects. The total labor expenditure is 
estimated to have exceeded 400,000,000 
man-hours. The breakdown of this effort 
is tabulated on the following page. 52 

Provision of the greater part of the per- 
sonnel quarters, hospitals, depots, and air- 
fields by no means represented the total 
British contribution to the logistical sup- 
port of the American forces in the United 

51 Buchanan, op cit, pp. 188-89. See also the Six- 
teenth and Seventeenth Reports to Congress on Lend- 
Lease Operations, Washington, 1944. 

52 Final Engineer Report, ETO, I, 249-50, 261-64, 
II, Apps. 24-28; Construction in the United King- 
dom, p. 1 . 



Type Total man-hours British U. S. Troops 

Total 403,708,000 252,518,000 151,190,000 

Housing 48, 000, 000 21, 800, 000 26, 200, 000 

Hospitals 54, 340, 000 48, 600, 000 5, 740, 000 

Depots 34,500,000 16,300,000 18,200,000 

Special accommodations 6, 000, 000 4, 000, 000 2, 000, 000 

Air Forces (to May 1945) 260, 868, 000 161, 818, 000 99, 050, 000 

Kingdom. While details cannot be given other with such supplies and services to 

here, it is apropos to give some indication the extent of their capability for the prose- 

of the quantity of supplies and services, as cution of the war. 

well as accommodations, which U.S. Following the practice of World War I, 
forces procured from British sources under the theater commander in May 1942 des- 
reverse lend-lease. ignated a General Purchasing Agent and 
Plans written before the U.S. entry into established a General Purchasing Board, 
the war contemplated that American consisting of representatives of the service 
forces in the United Kingdom, so far as chiefs, the Eighth Air Force, the Army Ex- 
practicable, would draw their logistical change Service, and other agencies. To- 
support from sources outside the British gether, the General Purchasing Agent and 
Isles. A General Purchasing Board was General Purchasing Board acted as a cen- 
established in Britain in 1942 on the as- tral agency to negotiate agreements with 
sumption that its main function would be British officials, to formulate purchasing 
to plan for later procurement on the Con- policies and procedure, and to co-ordinate 
tinent. The provision of accommodations and supervise the purchase of supplies by 
in the United Kingdom was of course a the various supply services and other agen- 
vast program of local procurement in it- cies. Until the General Purchasing Agent 
self. But in addition it was found that the stepped in and temporarily stopped al- 
British possessed certain commodities in most all local purchases, there was a great 
excess of their needs, and that there even deal of haphazard buying early in 1942 to 
was surplus manufacturing and processing fill immediate needs. Once the system of 
capacity which could be employed. An local procurement was regularized, a vast 
even more compelling reason for procur- program of purchasing was begun in 
ing supplies locally was the shortage of virtually every class of supply, 
shipping. Both facts made it natural and U.S. troops arriving in the United 
inevitable that U.S. forces should draw on Kingdom early in 1942 lacked supplies of 
local resources wherever practicable. In all kinds and relied heavily on British 
the summer of 1942 the theater com- sources for even such basic maintenance 
mander asserted that conservation of ship- as rations. The British ration, containing 
ping space would be the basic considera- more tea, bread, potatoes, and mutton, 
tion in determining the desirability of and less sugar, beef, coffee, fruits, and veg- 
procuring supplies locally. The basis for etables than Americans were accustomed 
such "reciprocal aid" already existed in a to, was unpopular, and efforts were imme- 
Master Agreement of February 1942 diately made to add the desired items, 
pledging the two nations to provide each Even after U.S. stocks were sufficient for 



the issue of a full American ration, how- 
ever, large quantities of meats, fruits, con- 
diments, cheese, candy, dairy products, 
and vegetables (including the lowly Brus- 
sels sprout, whose popularity was short 
lived) were procured locally to supple- 
ment the canned goods, the boneless beef, 
the dried eggs, and that much-derided 
product in the U.S. Army ration which 
gave the theater its nickname — "Spam- 
land." Fresh vegetables were obtained in 
part through NAAFI, the quasi-official 
British organization which operated the 
canteens and post exchanges for the Royal 
Navy, Army, and Air Force. The British 
Government, through the Ministry of 
Food, had greatly intensified its agricul- 
tural production. In 1942, using British 
seed, fertilizer, and equipment, American 
troops aided in this program by planting 
7,000 acres in and around camp areas, 
raising mostly corn, beans, peas, onions, 
and potatoes. In 1943 this acreage was 

For more than a year and a half Ameri- 
can units received all their bread through 
British Army and civilian bakeries, at first 
using wheat flour shipped from the United 
States. The British had for a long time 
been using "National Wheatmeal Flour," 
a blend of English and Canadian wheat 
with a small percentage of barley and 
oats, accepted as a wartime measure. In 
September 1942, fearing the adverse effect 
on civilian morale if American troops con- 
tinued to eat white bread in wartime 
Britain, the Minister of Food requested 
that the American forces also adopt Na- 
tional Wheatmeal Flour, which they did. 
The bread was not entirely satisfactory in 
texture or taste, but experimentation in 
baking produced a loaf more in accord 
with American tastes. Not until the fall of 
1943 did American units begin to meet 

even a portion of their own requirements. 
Initially they lacked equipment; then they 
discovered the superiority of British Army 
mobile bakeries and decided to adopt 
them for general use in the theater. By 
May 1944 the U.S. Quartermaster Corps 
in the United Kingdom had acquired fifty- 
two bakery sets from the British and was 
operating thirty-eight of them, producing 
about 500,000 pounds of bread daily, or 
about 60 percent of American require- 
ments. The remainder continued to be 
furnished by British civilian bakeries and 
by the Royal Army Service Corps. 53 

In the first half year of the reciprocal 
aid program, from June to December 
1942, U.S. forces procured the equivalent 
of 1 , 1 20,000 measurement tons of supplies 
and equipment from the British, with a 
corresponding saving in shipping. By far 
the largest portion of these supplies — al- 
most 600,000 tons — consisted of quarter- 
master items, including subsistence, cloth- 
ing, coal, and other supplies. 54 By mutual 
agreement woolen clothing was procured 
for U.S. troops in the United Kingdom 
while similar items were shipped from the 
United States to British units in the Mid- 
dle East. Among the other major items 
provided were 1,450,000 square yards of 
portable airfield runways, 15,000 bombs, 
70,000 rounds of artillery ammunition 
and several million rounds of small arms 
ammunition, 250,000 antitank mines, 
500,000 hand grenades, 1,000 parachutes, 
several hundred thousand camouflage 
nets, plus hundreds of other items of all 

53 Basic Needs of the ETO Soldier, I, 7-8, 14-17; 
Troop and Supply Buildup, 363-66; Info Bull 12, 
Bolero Q(L) Br, 1-31 May 44, SHAEF G-4 381 
Bolero I 1944. 

54 [Samuel I. Katz] History of the Office of the 
General Purchasing Agent, May 1942-October 1945, 
prep in Office GPA, ETO, MS, p. 37, ETO Adm 556, 



classes. 55 The transfer of British equip- 
ment in some cases aided materially in 
equipping U.S. units in time for the 
Torch operation. By the end of the year 
supplies procured in this way had ac- 
counted for at least a third of all tonnages 
received by U.S. troops in the United 

Local procurement was plagued with 
many complications, not the least of which 
was the difficulty with the "common lan- 
guage." In literally thousands of items of 
supply and equipment the American and 
British terminology and nomenclature dif- 
fered. Not only did the American service- 
man have to learn to drive on the left side 
of the road and figure out the intricacies 
of pounds, shillings, and pence, but he had 
to learn to ask for petrol when he wanted 
gas, to refer to lorries instead of trucks, 
and lifts rather than elevators. To the Brit- 
isher a hot-water boiler was a calorifier, a 
garbage can was a dustbin, shoe tacks 
were tingles, burlap was hessian, cheese 
cloth was butter muslin, and a summer 
undershirt was a tropical vest. The British 
stenographer was puzzled to find that to 
her American employer the last letter in 
the English alphabet was "z" and not 
u zed,' ; and she insisted on the British 
spelling of such words as "programme" 
and "tyres" in correspondence which she 
prepared in the various U.S. Army offices. 
Wherever Americans came into contact 
with Britishers, particularly in the depots 
and in the local procurement program, 
where they dealt with or actually handled 
supplies of both countries it was inevitable 
that they should at times conclude that 
their languages were only nominally the 

The reciprocal aid program also 
brought with it a vexing problem of book- 
keeping and accounting. War Department 

regulations initially prescribed a system of 
receipted vouchers for all supplies, with 
American and British officers agreeing on 
prices and, in lieu of such agreement, 
American officers fixing their own valua- 
tion. This proved completely impractica- 
ble and was largely ignored. British offi- 
cials frequently could not furnish cost 
figures on delivery, and there were not 
enough U.S. officers qualified to make 
price evaluations. The result was that, 
where such evaluations were insisted on, 
prices were often pulled out of the air. In 
October 1942 the attempt to keep a mone- 
tary record of reciprocal aid transfers was 
abandoned and the War Department 
authorized U.S. officers in the United 
Kingdom to maintain only a quantitative 
record. For several months U.S. reports 
therefore indicated only the amounts of 
goods received, while British quarterly re- 
ports gave monetary values in round 

In June 1943 the War Department once 
more attempted to establish a procedure 
of monetary evaluation of locally pro- 
cured supplies, but by that time the quan- 
tity of goods supplied under reverse lend- 
lease had reached such huge proportions 
that neither the independent evaluation 
by U.S. authorities nor the provision of 
unit prices by the British was possible. The 
estimated monetary values of the British 
quarterly reports plus the U.S. records of 
quantities were therefore accepted by 
ETOUSA as the best possible temporary 
solution. Under other circumstances the 
valuation procedure followed by the Brit- 
ish would not have been acceptable, but 
more serious differences did not arise at 

55 Report to the 78th Congress on Lend-Lease Operations: 
From the Passage of the Act, March 11 , 1941 > to December 
31, 1942 (Washington, 1943), submitted by Edward 
R. Stettinius Jr., Lend-Lease Administrator, pp. 



the time in part because of the realization 
that supplies furnished the British through 
lend-lease would far exceed the British 
contributions via reverse lend-lease. 56 In 
the heat of the build-up for invasion the 
important thing was to fill the largest pos- 
sible portion of American needs by local 
procurement with the hope of effecting 
savings in shipping; the accounting of 
these purchases was a secondary consider- 
ation and could be postponed. 

Reciprocal aid, like the build-up, 
reached its height in the months just pre- 
ceding the invasion. In the first year the 
Air Force was one of the largest benefici- 
aries from local purchase, for the United 
Kingdom was an indispensable source of 
almost all types of equipment in the 
Eighth Air Force's early history. From 
June 1942 through July 1943 the Amer- 
ican air forces drew 49 percent of all their 
air force supplies and equipment from 
British sources, in addition to quartermas- 
ter, engineer, medical, and other types of 
supplies received indirectly from the Brit- 
ish through the SOS. 57 Air force supplies 
included huge quantities of replacement 
parts, hand tools, photographic and com- 
munications equipment, flying clothing, 
parachutes, and Spitfire fighter planes. By 
the spring of 1944, to cite only a few ex- 
amples, the British had provided 1,100 
planes plus several hundred gliders, 
32,000 bombs, 7,000 sets of armor plate 
for heavy bombers, 5,000 rubber dinghies, 
10,600 aircraft tires, 35,000 belly tanks for 
fighter craft, 9,600 pieces of protective 
body armor, 43,000 jettisonable gas tanks, 
44,500,000 yards of Sommerfeld track, 50 
mobile repair shops for the repair of 
bombers crash-landed in the United 
Kingdom, and unspecified quantities of 
heated winter flying clothing, radio equip- 
ment, and other items. 58 

The Quartermaster Corps obtained 63 
percent of its requirements through 1944 
by local purchase, a larger percentage of 
its total needs than any other service. The 
nature of its purchases has already been 
indicated. In addition to subsistence, these 
included camp, laundry, bakery, and shoe 
repair equipment, soap, office supplies, 
15,000,000 5-gallon cans, 800,000 55-gal- 
lon drums, 83 mobile bakeries, toiletries, 
and large quantities of woolen socks, 
shoes, towels, blankets, and other items of 
clothing. 59 

Engineer supplies procured in Britain 
took the form of amphibious and bridging 
equipment, railway supplies, construction 
machinery, and storage tanks. The Engi- 
neer Corps was one of the largest users of 
locally procured supplies, acquiring 58 
percent of its needs, exclusive of construc- 
tion materials, in this manner. 

Between June 1942 and June 1944 the 
services procured varying portions of their 
supplies in the United Kingdom, as in- 
dicated in the table below. 

Quartermaster Corps 63% 

Corps of Engineers 58 

Medical Service 49 

Chemical Warfare Service 25 

Signal Corps 22 

Air Forces 21 

Ordnance Service 4 

Transportation Corps 3 

Ordnance and Transportation Corps sup- 
plies did not bulk large in actual tonnage, 
but British manufacturers produced al- 
most all the waterproofing materials 
needed to prepare vehicles for the am- 

56 Gen Bd Rpt 128, p. 16; History of the Office of 
the GPA, pp. 40ff. 

57 Graven and Gate, The Army Air Forces, II, 61 1. 

58 The Fifteenth Report to Congress on Lend-Lease Op- 
erations for the Period Ending March 31, 1944 (Washing- 
ton, 1944), pp. 22-25. 

59 Troop and Supply Buildup, pp. 349, 360-61. 



phibious phase of the cross-Channel oper- 
ation, and British plants assembled nearly 
130,000 vehicles for U.S. forces through 
June 1944. 60 Reciprocal aid to the Trans- 
portation Corps consisted chiefly of facil- 
ities, such as ports and rail lines, and serv- 
ices, such as labor employed in unloading 
cargo and transportation services on 
British railways and highways. In the first 
six months of 1944 alone British railways 
operated 9,225 special trains with over 
950,000 cars to move U.S. troops and 
supplies. 61 

By the end of June 1944 an estimated 
6,800,000 ship tons of supplies from Brit- 
ish sources had been furnished American 
forces in the United Kingdom, accounting 
for approximately 31 percent of all sup- 
plies received by ETOUSA forces up to 
that time, exclusive of construction ma- 
terials and gasoline. More than half of this 
tonnage — 3,851,000 ship tons — was de- 
livered to U.S. forces in the first six 
months of 1944, as is indicated in the sum- 
mary below: 

Total 6,799,433 

1942 1,121,786 

1943 1,826,701 

1944, first 6 months 3,850,946 

The U.S. Army in Britain received 
without cash payment through reverse 
lend-lease, or <£ mutual aid" as the British 
preferred to call it, innumerable other 
services, such as shoe repair, laundering, 
and camp utilities. The goods transferred 
and services rendered to U.S. forces with- 
in the United Kingdom before 30 June 

1944 had an estimated value of $1,028,- 
787,000. In addition, the British per- 
formed world-wide shipping services to 
U.S. forces in the amount of $356,050,- 
000, 62 and, as summarized earlier, had 
expended approximately $664,000,000 on 

new construction. The amount of British 
labor employed on U.S. account fluctu- 
ated widely, but during the peak months 
in the winter of 1943-44 reached nearly 
100,000 workers (over 90 percent civilian), 
including labor employed directly by the 
Americans and on construction projects 
for U.S. forces. 63 

In a special report to Congress on re- 
verse lend-lease aid, President Roosevelt 
noted that "it would have taken 1,000 
loaded ships to send from the United 
States the supplies provided to our forces 
by the United Kingdom." 64 In view of the 
acute shipping shortages during most of 
the build-up, these goods and services 
were an indispensable contribution to- 
ward the maintenance and equipment of 
U.S, forces preparing for the invasion of 
the Continent. 

(3 ) The SOS on the Eve of OVERLORD 

In the five months that preceded the in- 
vasion supply officials in both the United 
States and the theater were concerned not 
only with the over-all volume of supplies 
being shipped to the United Kingdom, 

60 At the peak of activity in the second quarter of 
1944 the British operated thirty-nine assembly plants, 
52 percent of the output going to U.S. forces. British 
plants continued to assemble vehicles for the Amer- 
icans until October 1944, when the cumulative total 
of assemblies reached 145,15 1. Ltr, A. B. Acheson, 
Hist Sec, Cabinet Offices, to G. W. S. Friedrichsen, 
Br Jt Svcs Mission, OGGS, 30 Dec 49, OCMH. 

61 Seventeenth Report to Congress on Lend-Lease Oper- 
ations: Reverse Lend-Lease Aid from the British Common- 
wealth of Nations (Washington, 1944), p. 12. 

62 Seventeenth Report on Lend-Lease Operations, p. 9. 

63 On 1 December 1943, 88,473 civilians and 7,258 
British troops — a total of 95,731 — were employed on 
U.S. account. Plan for SOS, ETO, Vol. I (Man- 
power), 1 Jan 44, Sec. 6 (Labor), Tab A, ETO, Adm 

64 Seventeenth Report on Lend-Lease Operations, p. 10. 



but also with shortages in specific items of 
equipment. Huge tonnages in themselves 
did not insure that all units would be ade- 
quately equipped. In January 1944 the 
Army Service Forces made a comprehen- 
sive survey of the status of the Bolero 
build-up. The most striking revelation of 
its report was the unbalanced nature of 
the shipments of the past months. To cite 
the extreme cases, the Quartermaster 
Corps had already virtually completed its 
shipments for eighteen divisions and their 
supporting troops, while Signal Corps 
equipment had been shipped for only 
five. 65 Some variation was to be expected, 
since under the preshipment program 
every effort had been made to fill the 
available shipping with whatever supplies 
and equipment were available at the time, 
and quartermaster supplies had been 
available in greater quantities than those 
of other services. Nevertheless, the ASF 
report demonstrated how misleading ton- 
nage figures by themselves could be, for 
despite the heavy movement to the Euro- 
pean theater there were many shortages, 
and some of them persisted even to D Day. 
One of the principal reasons was that 
many items were only now beginning to 
become available in sufficient quantity in 
the United States. 

At the time of the survey forecasts indi- 
cated that the principal requirements 
would be met by the first of May. By 
March, however, theater port capacity 
and shipping space so restricted the ship- 
ment of the mounting tonnages of cargo 
at the New York Port that the theater had 
to institute a system of priorities to insure 
that the most badly needed items were de- 
livered in time. Late in March General 
Lord and several of the ETOUSA service 
chiefs journeyed to Washington and re- 
viewed with ASF officials the entire sup- 

ply picture for the coming invasion, dis- 
cussing such matters as supply levels, 
intertheater priorities, emergency requisi- 
tions, commodity loading, and tonnage 
allocations. Their most immediate con- 
cern was with the critical shortages in 
specific items of supply and equipment. 
Investigating the status of every important 
item, they prepared a "critical item list" 
which included all supplies whose lack 
might jeopardize the success of the opera- 
tion. The list established deadlines for the 
delivery of the necessary quantities, and 
production schedules, rail shipments, port 
receipts, and port loading of these items 
were thereafter followed day by day. 
Their status was reported to the theater 
by air courier, and when difficulties arose 
or were foreseen, the problem was imme- 
diately reviewed and remedial action was 
taken. Under a system of priorities estab- 
lished by the theater, ETOUSA thus 
maintained virtually complete control of 
the make-up of shipments to the United 
Kingdom in the months just before D 
Day. 66 

In the United States the New York Port 
was instructed to adhere closely to the the- 
ater priority lists for loading, and the ASF 
did everything possible to expedite deliv- 
ery of critical supply items in the final 
weeks of preparation for Overlord. De- 
spite these efforts, shortages of both major 
and minor items persisted beyond D Day. 
Among them were amphibious trucks, 
tank transporters, LVT's, mine-exploding 
devices, certain heavy transportation 
equipment, and various types of ammuni- 
tion. Fortunately, none of these shortages 

85 Problem of Troop and Cargo Flow, pp. 144-45. 

<iH Ibid., pp. 16,1-62; Ltr, Lord to Lee, 3 Apr 44, 
sub: Rpt on ETOUSA Supply Mission to U.S., ETO 
Rpt on ETOUSA Supply Mission; History of Plan- 
ning Division ASF, pp. 99-100, OCMH. 



were serious enough to affect the initial 
stages of the operation. 67 

Another subject that received consider- 
able attention at the conferences between 
theater and ASF supply officials in March 
was "operational projects," the procedure 
whereby the requirements of particular 
operations for certain supplies and equip- 
ment were met. Known also as "projects 
for continental operations," or PROCO, 
this was a method of tailoring the equip- 
ment for a particular job without reference 
to the quantities authorized in Tables of 
Equipment or Tables of Basic Allowances. 
Determining the requirements of Class IV 
supplies— those for which allowances are 
not prescribed — has always been difficult, 
there being no standard basis of procure- 
ment or issue of such supplies and equip- 
ment because the demands vary with each 
operation. Late in 1942 the ASF Planning 
Division initiated a study to determine 
what supplies were needed for the con- 
struction of housing and ports and the re- 
habilitation of railways in North Africa. 
Bills of materials were prepared for sup- 
plies and equipment for camps, airfields, 
rail bridging, and so on. While no action 
was immediately taken on the "project," 
this estimate was the forerunner of the op- 
erational projects system which was in- 
augurated for all theaters in June 1943. In 
the European theater it was obvious that 
huge quantities of special operational 
Class II and IV supplies would be needed 
over and above T/BA and T/E allow- 
ances for such projects as pipeline and 
airfield construction, the rebuilding of 
ports and railways, and the provision of 
hospitals and depots. A project prepared 
by the Transportation Corps, for example, 
based on certain assumptions regarding 
the destruction of French ports, called for 
large quantities of construction materials, 

cranes, barges, and dock equipment, and 
other TC projects called for diesel electric 
locomotives, shop equipment, and ma- 
terials-handling equipment. The Ord- 
nance and Engineer Services were also 
major users of the operational projects 
procedure to meet their needs for special 
undertakings on the Continent. The Ord- 
nance Service alone submitted projects for 
more than 300,000 tons of equipment, 
much of it consisting of heavy automotive 
units such as 10-ton semitrailers and 
truck- tractors. The Corps of Engineers, 
which was responsible for all major con- 
struction projects, such as pipelines, rail- 
ways, and port repair, presented bills of 
materials for upwards of 700,000 tons for 
the first eight months of operations. 68 

PROCO, like every other major logistic 
procedure, was attended by many snags 
and misunderstandings. It was especially 
important that requirements be estimated 
far in advance of actual need, since pro- 
curement of special equipment frequently 
took as long as eighteen and sometimes 
twenty-four months. The program was 
not inaugurated until the summer of 1943, 
less than a year before the invasion date. 
Even at that time the projects rested on 
rather tentative operational plans, for the 
Overlord design was not approved until 
August, and its details were not worked 
out until early 1944. This initial handicap 
was further aggravated, in the view of 
ETOUSA officials, by the interminable 
delays in processing operational projects 

67 Cbl S-52025, Eisenhower to CCS, 17 May 44, 
SHAEF AG 381-3 SHAEF to AGWAR Rpts on 
Overlord; Ltr, Lutes to Bradley, 13-May 44, sub: 
Supply of Critical Material, and Ltr, Maj Gen Harold 
R. Bull to G-4, 10 May 44, SHAEF G-4 400. 192 
Supply Rpts I 44. 

68 Memo, Lutes for ACofS Opns WD, 25 May 44, 
sub: Operational Projects for ETO, ASF Ping Div 
400 History of Projects. 



in the War Department. ETOUSA offi- 
cials thought the procedure was inexcus- 
ably slow. In extreme cases, they noted, it 
required seven months before supply ac- 
tion was initiated on a theater project. 
The OPD eventually admitted that the 
processing cycle was too long and inaugu- 
rated a system that materially reduced the 
time, although it did not take effect until 
the spring of 1944. The theater also com- 
plained that there were wide discrepancies 
between ASF, New York Port, and 
ETOUSA records of shipments, the ASF 
figures indicating greater shipments than 
had actually taken place and been re- 
ceived in the theater. 69 

On the other hand the War Depart- 
ment found reason to charge the theater 
with misusing the entire PROCO system. 
As conceived by the War Department, op- 
erational projects were intended for the 
purpose of initiating procurement (that is, 
production) in advance for Class II items 
over and above T/BA and T/E, for ma- 
terials-handling equipment, and for other 
Class IV items needed on particular oper- 
ations. But the ETO had construed the 
intent of the system to include all require- 
ments in excess of authorized allowances 
for all classes of equipment, and require- 
ments for maintenance supplies in excess 
of normal combat usage factors. Under 
this interpretation requests were submit- 
ted to meet the losses expected from ship 
sinkings in the English Channel, and to 
meet unusually high expenditures in the 
early stages of the attack. Requests went 
in for many common items such as rations 
and ammunition — items the War Depart- 
ment had never intended to be included. 
Furthermore, of the 281 operational proj- 
ects received from the European theater 
by April 1944, it was observed that 251 
were of no assistance in planning advance 

procurement, presumably because they 
arrived late. 

The War Department also took excep- 
tion to the continuing amendments and 
revisions of the projects. Most of them 
called for increases which the Army Serv- 
ice Forces in many cases simply could not 
provide in the short time remaining. But 
these changes could hardly be avoided in 
view of the many alterations in the Over- 
lord operational plan. In the end the 
Army Service Forces despaired of carrying 
out the PROCO system as originally con- 
ceived and for the most part accommo- 
dated itself to the existing situation. In an 
attempt to expedite the delivery of the 
materials which the theater requested, it 
often abandoned the SOP's established 
for processing the projects and sought in- 
formal recommendations and concur- 
rences. Eventually it approved the use of 
PROCO for all requirements in excess of 
normal issue, consumption, and expendi- 
ture rates. While the program was not car- 
ried out in strict accordance with original 
intentions, therefore, it generally accom- 
plished its purpose by providing hundreds 
of thousands of tons of supplies and equip- 
ment to meet the unusual demands of the 
Overlord operation. 70 

In the final weeks before D Day the 
theater's supply arrangements came 
under the searching eye of one of the top 
officials of the Army Service Forces. In 
April General Lutes, Chief of Operations 

69 Study, General Supply Situation in the United 
Kingdom, Pt. II, Tab 6, Procedure for Processing 
Projects in WD, Mar 44, ETO, Outline of Opn 
Overlord; Cbl EX-28509, Lee to Marshall, 16 May 
44, and Cbl WARX-45069, OPD to SHAEF, 31 May 
44, P&O Cbl Files. 

70 Memo, Col Carter B. Magruder, Dir Ping Div 
ASF, for Deputy Dir Plans and Opns ASF, 28 Apr 
44, sub; History of Operational Projects for ETO, 
ASF Ping Div 400 History of Projects; Gen Ed Rpt 
128. Logistical Buildup in the British Isles, pp. 18-19. 



of the ASF, went to the United Kingdom 
and undertook a prolonged examination 
of the logistical situation there. His pur- 
pose was not only to check on the last- 
minute needs of the coming operation, but 
to inspect the entire supply structure in the 
United Kingdom and determine the effi- 
ciency of the theater's supply machinery. 
As the personal representative of the ASF 
commander General Lutes was in an ex- 
cellent position to take any action neces- 
sary to expedite the administrative prep- 
arations for the cross-Channel attack; and 
as an outsider he was in a better position 
than anyone in the theater to judge 
objectively the efficacy of its logistical 

On the whole General Lutes found the 
supply situation satisfactory. Most impor- 
tant, he could report early in May that 
the Overlord assault forces were ade- 
quately equipped. The fact that plans for 
the shipment of maintenance supplies to 
the Continent were not complete beyond 
the first four weeks he did not consider 
serious, for there was still time to develop 
plans for the later phases of the opera- 
tion. 71 He was not entirely satisfied, how- 
ever, with the status of advance planning 
in general. While the responsibility for ad- 
vance supply planning unquestionably 
belonged to the SOS, the delay was at 
least partially traceable to higher head- 
quarters. Supply planning must be pre- 
ceded by operational planning, and the 
latter had lagged consistently. The high- 
level decision on Overlord itself had 
been belated from the point of view of the 
Army Service Forces, which was respon- 
sible for procurement of the needed sup- 
plies and equipment. No other aspect of 
logistics troubled the supply services as 
much as getting operational decisions far 
enough in advance to initiate long-range 

procurement. The ASF and the theater 
SOS consistently regarded this as their 
chief problem and repeatedly emphasized 
it to the headquarters responsible for op- 
erational planning. The Army supply 
program had to anticipate requirements 
by at least twelve to eighteen months. 
Likewise, in the theater the operational 
plans of the G-3's had to be translated 
into items of supply and requisitions by 
the G-4's. In this regard General Lutes 
thought that SHAEF, one of whose main 
functions was advance planning, had been 
remiss, for the Supreme Headquarters had 
not carried its operational planning far 
enough forward, with the result that sup- 
ply planning also lagged. Even the firming 
up of the operational troop basis by the 1st 
Army Group and First Army had been 
unduly delayed from the point of view of 
supply and movement plans. It was noted 
that the troop basis data on the mounting 
plan, already scheduled dangerously 
close, had been delivered to ETOUSA- 
SOS eleven days late, and even then 
changes continued to be made. All supply 
loading and movement plans were com- 
pletely dependent on the troop basis and 
on the tonnage allocations provided by 1st 
Army Group, and both were delayed. 72 

In addition to this fundamental handi- 
cap General Lutes found certain short- 
comings within the SOS itself. Most of 
them concerned supply operating proce- 
dures which are of too technical a nature 
to be described here. The SOS still lacked 
an adequately standardized supply rec- 
ords and administrative procedure. While 
the technical services had set up stock 

71 Memo, Lutes for Somervell, 9 May 44, ASF, 
ETO— 1st half 1944. 

72 Memo, Lutes for Eisenhower, 13 Apr 44, sub: 
Interim Rpt on Supply Matters, ASF, ETO— 1st half 
1944; Remarks by Lutes, Stf and Gomd Gonf, SOS, 
17 Apr 44, EUCOM 337/3 Gonfs, Stf- Weekly I 44. 



control systems, their basic features as well 
as the relative efficiency of the different 
systems varied greatly. Nor were the 
documentary procedures of the depots 
adequate. With regard to the control of 
the depots, even at this late date the re- 
sponsibilities of the base section com- 
manders were not clearly defined. And in 
the operation of the ports the respective 
responsibilities of the base section com- 
manders, the port commanders, and the 
chief of transportation were ambiguous 
and overlapping. 73 These were eternal 
problems for the SOS and had plagued 
that organization from its very beginnings, 
although great progress had been made 
since the hectic days of 1942. 

The difficulties were largely internal, 
but they had both a direct and an indirect 
bearing on the relations of the SOS with 
other commands. Those relations were not 
entirely cordial. In the competition for 
supplies and services it was perhaps in- 
evitable that each of the other major com- 
mands — particularly 1st Army Group and 
USSTAF — should suspect that it was not 
getting its share in view of the fact that the 
SOS, a co-ordinate command, controlled 
the allocation of supplies. In any event, 
both of those commands expressed dis- 
satisfaction with the manner in which 
they believed the SOS was withholding 
supplies which they claimed were re- 
quired for operations, 74 and their relations 
with the SOS consequently were often 
marred by misunderstanding and mis- 
trust. A similar situation had developed in 
the Pacific, leading to a deadlock which 
was resolved only by the formation of a 
Logistical Committee with representatives 
of all forces. General Lutes hoped to avoid 
resorting to such a device in the European 

In this tug of war the Air Force was the 

most clamant in its demands. In both the 
United States and the theater it had often 
complained that the supply of its units in 
the theater was unsatisfactory. Specifi- 
cally, it had objected to its dependence on 
the SOS organization for the handling of 
its supplies, asserting that delivery had 
been slow and that the SOS had made 
uncalled-for demands for justification for 
increased allowances or issues. General 
Knerr, the USSTAF Deputy Commander 
for Administration, thought the decisions 
by the SOS were made more on the basis 
of availability of supplies than on opera- 
tional need. The Air Force still desired to 
take possession of at least 50 percent of the 
common items of supply and equipment 
before they left the United States, thus in 
effect establishing a separate line of com- 
munications to the zone of interior and to 
this extent freeing itself from theater con- 
trol over its supply. The ASF had consist- 
ently maintained with unassailable logic 
that the theater commander must control 
priorities and allocations with considera- 
tion to their effect on other operations in 
the theater. 75 There were other reasons, 
such as the bottlenecks in shipping and the 
limited port facilities in the United King- 
dom, which made the Air Force scheme 
utterly impracticable. In the end General 
Knerr backed down on his contentions. 76 

73 Memo, Lutes for Lee, 1 2 May 44, sub: Stock 
Control, Field Opns and Depot Opns, ETOUSA, and 
Memo, Lutes for Lee, 24 Apr 44, sub: Supply Or- 
ganization and Procedures, ASF, ETO — 1st half 

74 Memo, Lutes for GG ETO, 24 Apr 44, sub: Sup- 
ply, Organization and Procedures, ASF, ETO — 1st 
half 1944. 

75 Memo, Lutes for Lee, 15 Apr 44, sub: Allocations 
between Air and Ground Forces, ASF, ETO — 1st half 

76 Memo, Lutes for Somervell, 1 1 May 44, ASF, 
ETO — 1st half 1944; Remarks by Lutes, SOS Stf and 
Gomd Gonf, 17 Apr 44, EUGOM 337/3 Confs, 
Stf- Weekly I 44. 



In order to satisfy himself, however, 
General Lutes made a special effort to 
question the Air Force liaison officers at 
both the SOS and Southern Base Section 
headquarters, and at the various general 
depots which he visited. For the most part 
he found the Air Force accusations un- 
founded. Without exception he was told 
that Air Force requisitions for common 
items had been promptly filled and their 
delivery expedited. There had been no 
delays in the issue of equipment to Air 
Force depots when supplies were avail- 
able. The Air Force complaints therefore 
narrowed down to the question of meet- 
ing demands for supply and equipment 
over and above the authorized allowances. 
This was a matter for allocation on the 
part of the theater commander and could 
not be charged as a delay on the part of the 
SOS. Regardless of the arrangements for 
the control of supply in the theater, there 
would have to be allocations on the basis 
of need, and the theater commander or 
his designated authority would have to 
make the decisions. 77 In the ETO General 
Eisenhower had assigned this function to 
General Lee as his deputy for supply and 
administration, and General Lutes felt 
that General Lee and his staff were as 
competent as any combat staff to decide 
on the basis of operational plans or as a 
result of actual combat conditions whether 
the armies or the Air Force or any other 
unit should be allocated certain items. 78 

As sound as these arguments may have 
been from an administrative and com- 
mand point of view, the fact remained that 
the combat commanders would not accept 
a denial of their requests from the SOS 
staff One explanation for this attitude lay 
in their resentment of the position of the 
SOS commander in the theater's com- 
mand and organizational structure. Gen- 

eral Lee's long campaign to gain control of 
all supply and administration for the SOS 
had culminated in triumph in January 
1944 with the consolidation of the SOS 
and ETOUSA headquarters. In gaining 
for himself the position of deputy theater 
commander as well as Commanding Gen- 
eral, SOS, however, Lee had assumed a 
role which in some respects proved an 
unhappy one. As deputy theater com- 
mander he spoke for General Eisenhower 
at the highest theater level on such matters 
as supply allocations; as commanding gen- 
eral of the SOS he also commanded one 
of the three major co-ordinate commands 
of the theater. This dual role was highly 
resented by the other commanders, for it 
was clear to them that as the deputy 
theater commander he could hardly act as 
a disinterested party on supply problems 
while holding his additional position as 
commander of the SOS. Such an arrange- 
ment left them, they claimed, with no one 
to go to for adjudication but SHAEF in 
the event of controversy. 79 

Whatever the validity of or justification 
for these suspicions, there was a definite 
lack of confidence in the SOS staff. A 
noticeable tension developed in the vari- 
ous headquarters and permeated even the 
lower echelons. Some staff officers at 
SHAEF and 1st Army Group showed open 
hostility toward the SOS. This lack of con- 
fidence inevitably lessened administrative 
efficiency. A certain amount of poor ad- 
ministrative practice manifested itself, no- 
ticeably in the bad liaison and co-ordina- 

77 Ltr, Lutes to Knerr, 22 Apr 44, sub: Supply of 
Air Force Units by SOS ETO, ASF, ETO — 1st half 

78 Memo, Lutes for Somervell, 15 Apr 44, ASF, 
ETO— 1st half 1944. 

79 Memos, Lutes for Somervell, 12 and 15 Apr 44, 
ASF, ETO — 1st half 1944; Interv with Crawford, 5 
May 48, OCMH. 



tion between the SOS on the one hand 
and SHAEF and 1st Army Group on the 
other. SHAEF and 1st Army Group fre- 
quently became excited over reports of 
supply shortages which upon investigation 
turned out to be based on information 
from ETOUSA which was three weeks 
old, the shortages having been filled in the 
meantime. This obviously indicated that 
closer liaison was required within the SOS 
as well as between the SOS G-4 and 
SHAEF and 1st Army Group. Theoreti- 
cally, the ETOUSA-SOS staff should have 
been used as a working agency of the 
SHAEF G-4. It should have been con- 
sulted on all important logistical matters, 
particularly on major allocations of sup- 
plies. SHAEF officers, however, were not 
always satisfied with the information ob- 
tained from ETOUSA-SOS, and there 
was a considerable amount of direct deal- 
ing between SHAEF and the ETOUSA- 
SOS technical services on matters that 
should have been channeled through 
ETOUSA-SOS headquarters. 

Some of the difficulties could undoubt- 
edly be traced to the feeling that the SOS 
did not have a proper appreciation of its 
duties toward the combat commands, and 
that it treated their requests purely on the 
basis of availability and felt no urgency 
about filling them. In General Somervell's 
opinion, there still was room for mission- 
ary work in the European theater to 
instill in the SOS the idea that it was in 
the theater for only one purpose — "to sup- 
ply our customers and not to tell their 
customers what they want." Once the 
combat elements were convinced that the 
SOS was making genuine efforts to serve 
them, he felt that the friction would dis- 

Since the combat commanders resented 
the dual role of the SOS commander, they 

naturally carried their objection one step 
further and protested General Lee's desig- 
nation as Commanding General, Com- 
munications Zone, for they assumed this 
meant that the existing arrangements 
would be carried over to the Continent. 
In General Lutes's view there could be no 
valid objection to such an arrangement. 
The SOS was well established as both a 
supply planning and operating agency, 
and was the source of all initial supply for 
the continental operation. The assignment 
of the Commanding General, SOS, as 
Commanding General, Communications 
Zone, insured continuity of supply respon- 
sibility and merely entailed the trans- 
formation of the SOS, until now an exten- 
sion of the zone of interior, into a Com- 
munications Zone in a theater which had 
begun active ground combat operations. 
What the combat commands really ob- 
jected to, of course, was the prospect of 
General Lee's continued authority as 
deputy theater commander. General 
Einsenhower was not unaware of the dis- 
satisfaction with the existing arrangements 
and, as has been noted earlier, in the com- 
mand arrangements which he later laid 
down for the Continent he deprived the 
COMZ commander, at least on paper, of 
the title he had held since the reorganiza- 
tion of January. 

While the command and organizational 
structure of the theater thus left something 
to be desired, ETOUSA-SOS was vulner- 
able to criticism on other matters. Some of 
the lack of confidence in the SOS unques- 
tionably stemmed from the lack of proper 
co-ordination within its own staff and be- 
tween its own commands. In one observer's 
opinion, the SOS had been functioning 
without a real supply man topside to co- 
ordinate the work of its general staff. Gen- 
eral Lee had found it necessary to spend 



munications %pne. (Photograph taken in 

much of his time in the field, supervising 
the discipline, training, and field opera- 
tions of the service units. General Lord, 
his chief of staff, was adept in dealing with 
other headquarters, like SHAEF, but had 
not had wide experience in the field of 
logistics. The result was that the SOS staff 
had not been as closely supervised and di- 
rected as it should have been, and that 
command decisions on supply had been 
"kicked about a bit." 

Moreover, the members of the 
ETOUSA-SOS general staff were neither 
by training nor experience ideally pre- 
pared to co-ordinate the myriad details in- 
volved in building the logistic machine 
required for the unprecedented job which 
lay ahead. For one thing the staff had 
undergone many changes in assignment, 

and of the officers holding the G posts in 
the final planning period only one had 
had advanced staff training at the level of 
the Command and General Staff School. 
Col. James Stratton was a relative new- 
comer in the G-4 position and was only 
beginning to learn the supply job and to 
grasp the details of the Overlord logistic 

The special staff, by contrast, had not 
only had more stability of tenure and con- 
sequently more experience in both the 
build-up and in the planning for Over- 
lord, but more formal training for the jobs 
it was performing. The technical service 
chiefs without exception had attended 
higher service schools, most of them hav- 
ing graduated from both the Command 
and General Staff School and Army War 
College. Several had attended civilian 
colleges and universities, although only 
two were graduates of the Military 

The inexperience of the general staff 
was generally reflected in its offspring, the 
Advance Section and Forward Echelon, 
which had borrowed personnel from the 
theater headquarters. It was obviously too 
late, however, to make important changes 
in key positions with Overlord only a few 
weeks away, and General Lee did not 
favor any shifts in personnel. The respon- 
sibility for the operation now rested 
squarely on the shoulders of the existing 
group, and it was important that General 
Eisenhower place full confidence in the 
SOS, particularly in view of the tendency 
on the part of the combat commands to 
challenge and dispute its decisions. These 
observations, particularly as to the hostility 
shown by other commands to the SOS, led 
General Somervell to suggest that General 
Eisenhower might well "knock some heads 
together and straighten them out," and to 



express the hope that his lieutenant in the 
theater, General Lutes, might at least be 
able to "make all these fellows lie in the 
same bed and like it." 80 

The atmosphere of the theater head- 
quarters reflected in a large degree the at- 
titude toward the commander of the SOS 
and deputy theater commander. General 
Lee continued to be a controversial per- 
sonality throughout the history of the 
theater, owing in part to the anomalous 
position which he held. But the contro- 
versy over the SOS was heightened by his 
personal traits. Heavy on ceremony, some- 
what forbidding in manner and appear- 
ance, and occasionally tactless in exercis- 
ing authority which he regarded' to be 
within the province of the SOS, General 
Lee often aroused suspicions and created 
opposition where support might have been 

It appears, however, that few of his 
subordinates, and certainly fewer still of 
the persons with whom he dealt in the 
field commands, got to know him well. 
Those who did knew him to be kindly, 
unselfish, modest, extremely religious, and 
a man of simple tastes, however much this 
seemed to be contradicted by the picture 
of ostentation presented by the living ar- 
rangements of his staff and by his use of a 
special train for his comings and goings in 
the United Kingdom. General Lee has 
been aptly referred to as a "soldier of the 
old school," one who belived firmly in the 
dignity of his profession and wore the 
Army uniform with pride. He expected 
every other soldier, from general to pri- 
vate, to revere that uniform as he did. 
Many, without attempting to understand 
his rigid sense of discipline, were quick to 
label him pompous and a martinet. There 
can be no doubt that General Lee was 
motivated by a high sense of duty, and he 

expected others to measure up to his own 
concept of soldierly qualities. 

The SOS commander was indefatigable 
in his rounds of inspections of field organi- 
zations, and was fully aware of the criti- 
cism generated by his use of a special train 
for that purpose. The acquisition of such 
a vehicle had been strongly urged on him 
by General Harbord, the SOS com- 
mander in World War I, with whom he 
visited in New York on his way to the 
United Kingdom in May 1942. The train 
was intended as a timesaver, and that it 
undoubtedly was. General Lee refused to 
bow to the criticism, convinced in his own 
mind that the train was fully justified. As 
attested by members of his staff, it was a 
work train, and an instrument of torture. 
General Lee set a grueling pace on his 
inspection trips, and it was rare indeed 
when a meal was served on the train 
during daylight hours, for most runs were 
made at night. The day's work, consisting 
of inspections and conferences, normally 
began at five in the morning and lasted 
until evening. Most of the staff members 
who accompanied the SOS commander 
considered the trips agonizing ordeals and 
would have avoided them if possible. 

One other criticism of the SOS com- 
mander was probably more justified. Lee 
assigned some officers to positions of 
authority and responsibility whose quali- 
fications were at times obscure. He was 
exceedingly loyal to these subordinates, 
usually placing full confidence in them. 

80 One of the major sources for the above views is 
the correspondence between Generals Somervell and 
Lutes in April and May 1944, filed in ASF, ETO— 
1st half 1944. See especially the memos from Lutes to 
Somervell, dated 12, 13, 15, 24, 26, and 29 April, and 
8 and 1 1 May 1944, letters from Somervell of 18 April 
and 1 May 1944, and the memo from Lutes to Eisen- 
hower, 13 April 1944, sub: Interim Rpt on Supply 



This otherwise admirable trait sometimes 
put him in difficult positions, and his own 
reputation often suffered from their ac- 
tions and unpopularity. In any event, the 
atmosphere at the ETOUSA-SOS head- 
quarters was not consistently conducive to 
the best teamwork. 

However inaccurately these circum- 
stances may have reflected the real effi- 
ciency of the SOS, it is an inescapable fact 
that General Lee at least gave poor first 
impressions and did not always immedi- 
ately inspire the confidence of the various 
commanders of the theater. Both General 
Andrews and General Devers were at first 
disposed to make a change in the com- 
mand of the SOS when they assumed 
command of the theater. The former com- 
manded the theater only a few months. 
General Devers, after a second look at the 
operations of the SOS, was satisfied that 
General Lee was doing a very satisfactory 
job. 81 General Eisenhower's reactions were 
similar. While he initially had doubts of 
Lee's ability to create an efficient supply 
organization and was fully aware of the 
complaints of the combat commanders 
and the tensions between the various 

headquarters, he finally decided to aban- 
don at least temporarily any thought of 
replacing the SOS commander, to put 
complete faith in him, and to trust in the 
ability of his organization to support the 
American forces in the coming operation. 82 
While the top-level organization and func- 
tioning of the SOS left something to be de- 
sired, and while there were shortcomings 
in the supply procedures within the SOS, 
observers from the Army Service Forces 
generally agreed that its field organization 
was functioning well and that the qualms 
felt by some commanders regarding the 
SOS's ability to support the cross-Channel 
operations were unjustified. 

81 Ltr, Gen Styer to Somervell, Jun 43, ASF, 
Somervell Files, CofS 1942-43 (6). 

82 Memo, Lutes for Somervell, 22 May 44, ASF, 
Somervell, Plans and Opns Files. In March 1944 the 
War Department promoted Lee to lieutenant general 
without consulting the theater commander. General 
Eisenhower protested this action, but made it clear 
that he objected only to the manner in which it was 
done, and not to Lee's advancement itself. He had 
postponed approval of such a promotion when he first 
arrived in England a few months before only because 
he first wished to satisfy himself on the efficiency of 
Lee's organization. Ltr, Eisenhower to Marshall, 
3 Mar 44, and Gbl 254, Marshall to Eisenhower, 
9 Mar 44, Eisenhower personal file. 


The Overlord Logistical Plan 

(1 ) The Artificial Port 

The magnitude of the cross-Channel 
operation is most fully revealed in its logis- 
tic aspects. Because it was to be an am- 
phibious operation Overlord's supply 
problems were many times magnified. 
Moving an attacking force and its equip- 
ment across the Channel in assault forma- 
tion required, first of all, a highly co- 
ordinated staging procedure in the United 
Kingdom, large numbers of special craft, 
and meticulously detailed loading plans. 
Following the capture of a lodgment it in- 
volved the rapid organization of the 
beaches as a temporary supply base, the 
quick reinforcement of the forces ashore 
and the build-up of supplies, and the sub- 
sequent rebuilding of ports and develop- 
ment of lines of communications so that 
sustained operations of the combat forces 
could be properly maintained. 

The detailed planning for the various 
tasks involved did not begin until after the 
establishment of SHAEF and the designa- 
tion of the Supreme Commander in Jan- 
uary 1944. In the following month the 
plans of the various headquarters began to 
appear. The basic operational plan, 
known as the Neptune Initial Joint Plan, 
w r as issued by the joint commanders — that 
is, the commanders of the 21 Army Group, 
the Allied Naval Expeditionary Force, 
and the Allied Expeditionary Air Force — 
on 1 February. First Army's plan, which 

constituted something of a master plan for 
U.S. forces in view of that organization's 
responsibility for all aspects of the opera- 
tion, both tactical and logistical, in its 
early stages, appeared on 25 February. 
Those of its subordinate commands, V 
and VII Corps, were issued on 26 and 27 
March respectively. On the logistical side 
thejoint commanders' Initial Joint Plan 
was supplemented on 23 March by in- 
structions known as the Joint Outline 
Maintenance Project. The outline of the 
American logistic plan was issued as the 
Joint Administrative Plan by the U.S. ad- 
ministrative staff at 21 Army Group on 19 
April. This was followed on 30 April by 
the Advance Section plan, covering the 
period from D plus 15 to 41, and on 14 
May by the over-all Communications 
Zone plan issued by the Forward Eche- 
lon. The SOS mounting plan had ap- 
peared on 20 March. 

The extent to which logistic considera- 
tions had entered into the deliberations of 
the COSSAC and SHAEF planners has 
already been pointed out. In the eyes of 
the planners the successful invasion of 
France was dependent first on breaking 
through the coastal defenses and establish- 
ing a beachhead, and second, on the sub- 
sequent battle with enemy mobile re- 
serves. The enemy's main line of resist- 
ance was the coast line itself, and it was 
known that the first objective of the ene- 
my's defense strategy was to defeat the 



invaders on the beaches by the rapid de- 
ployment of his mobile reserves. The out- 
come of this critical battle with enemy 
reserves was seen as depending primarily 
on whether the Allied rate of build-up 
could match the enemy's rate of reinforce- 
ment, and the degree to which this rein- 
forcement could be delayed or broken up 
by air action or other means. The enemy's 
second defense objective would be to pre- 
vent the Allies from securing ports, for the 
capture of an intermediate port, such as 
Cherbourg, and of other ports, was a 
prime necessity for the sustained build-up 
of men and supplies. 1 

In the original July 1943 outline plan of 
Overlord, which served as a basis for the 
later planning, it was estimated that the 
provision of adequate maintenance for the 
Allied forces in the initial stages, including 
the building of minimum reserves, would 
require a flow of supplies rising from 
10,000 tons per day on D plus 3 to 15,000 
tons on D plus 12, and 18,000 on D plus 
18. These figures were based on an assault 
by three divisions, a build-up to a strength 
of ten divisions by D plus 5, and the land- 
ing of approximately one division per day 
thereafter. 2 The capture of the Normandy 
and Brittany groups of ports was expected 
to insure discharge capacity sufficient to 
support a minimum of at least thirty divi- 
sions, and it was believed that if all the 
minor ports were developed this force 
could be considerably augmented. But 
frontal assaults on the ports themselves 
had been ruled out, and Mediterranean 
experience had shown that ports, even if 
captured shortly after the landings, would 
be found demolished and would be unus- 
able for some time. The total capacity of 
the minor ports (Grandcamp-les-Bains, 
Isigny, St. Vaast-la-Hougue, Barfleur) on 
the front of the assault was not expected 

to reach 1,300 tons per day in the first two 
weeks. According to a later estimate, the 
capture of Cherbourg was not expected 
before D plus 14. Its capacity on opening 
was estimated at 1 ,900 tons, rising to only 
3,750 tons after 30 days. In any event it 
was not sufficient for the maintenance of 
the lodgment forces. The Brittany ports 
would not offer a solution before D plus 
60. It was clear, therefore, that the initial 
build-up would have to be over the 
beaches, and it was estimated that eight- 
een divisions would have to be supported 
over the beaches during the first month, 
twelve in the second, with the number 
gradually diminishing to none at the end 
of the third month as the ports developed 
greater and greater capacity. 

The COSSAC planners considered the 
capacities of the beaches (which at that 
time did not include the east Cotentin) 
more than sufficient to maintain these 
forces, and believed that tactical develop- 
ments should make possible the opening 
of additional beaches after D plus 12. 3 
Unfortunately these capacities were 
largely theoretical, and in this fact lay the 
very crux of the initial build-up problem. 
The Allies had two enemies to reckon with 
in their invasion of the Continent — the 

1 Memo, Army Opns Branch (US) for Head Plan- 
ners, 4 Oct 43, sub: Secondary Assault on Cotentin 
Peninsula, SHAEF 381 Overlord, I (a). 

2 COSSAC Digest of Opn Overlord, 15 Jul 43, 
Annexure I to App. W, SHAEF, COSSAC (43) 28, 
Opn Overlord Outline Plan. 

:i The appreciation of July 1943 estimated the ca- 
pacities of the beaches as 20,000 tons initially, increas- 
ing to 30,000 on D plus 3 and 50,000 on D plus 13. 
These figures were reduced considerably in the more 
conservative estimates in the final plans. Tonnage re- 
quirements, conversely, were later revised upward, 
totaling 16,500 tons per day for U.S. forces alone by 
D plus 18. 21 A Gp Study, Subsequent Maintenance 
of British and U.S. Forces — Overlord, 13 Mar 44, 
SHAEF G-4 Maintenance of British and U.S. Forces 



Germans and the weather. By far the more 
unpredictable of these — "more capricious 
than a woman," as one observer put it — 
was the weather. 4 Meteorological studies 
covering a ten-year period indicated that 
the month of June was likely to have about 
twenty-five days of weather suitable for 
the beaching of landing craft. The record 
also revealed an average of about two 
"quiet spells" of four days or longer per 
month between May and September. 
Forecasting more than four days of fair 
weather was difficult, however, and it 
therefore followed that from D plus 4 on- 
ward maintenance plans would have to 
allow for the fact that on some days beach 
operations would be impracticable. To 
compensate for these interruptions it 
would be necessary to increase daily dis- 
charge by some 30 percent. Furthermore, 
even though it might be physically possi- 
ble to land the necessary tonnages, a great 
problem of movement and distribution 
forward to the depots and the troops was 
inherent in maintenance on such a large 
scale in so restricted a beachhead. It was 
therefore necessary to develop discharge 
facilities for bad weather in order to re- 
duce the peak loads over the beaches on 
operable days and to even out the flow of 
traffic through the maintenance areas. In 
addition, naval authorities warned that 
unless steps were taken to provide facilities 
for the landing of vehicles, the cumulative 
damage to craft continuously grounding 
on beaches might well reduce the avail- 
able lift and jeopardize the success of the 
whole operation. The provision of special 
berthing facilities was considered a matter 
of such paramount importance, in fact, 
that the naval commander in chief stated 
he could not undertake such an operation 
with confidence without them. 5 

The planners made it clear at an early 

date, therefore, that unless adequate 
measures were taken to provide sheltered 
waters by artificial means the operation 
would be at the mercy of the weather, and 
that a secondary requirement existed for 
special berthing facilities within the shel- 
tered area, particularly for the discharge 
of vehicles. They estimated that the mini- 
mum facilities required for discharge un- 
interrupted by weather were for a capac- 
ity of 6,000 tons per day by D plus 4-5, 
9,000 tons by D plus 10-12, and 12,000 
tons when fully developed on D plus 

The Allied planners proposed to meet 
this problem by building their own har- 
bors in the United Kingdom, towing them 
across the Channel, and beginning to set 
them up at the open beaches on the very 
day of the assault. While their solution 
was in a sense an obvious one, it was at the 
same time as unconventional and daring 
in its conception as any in the annals of 
military operations. 

The concept of a "synthetic" harbor 
was not entirely a new one, although a de- 
tailed blueprint for a prefabricated port 
was not immediately forthcoming. There 
was at least one precedent for the concept 
of "sheltered water" created for the ex- 
press purpose of aiding military opera- 
tions. Mr. Churchill had proposed a 
breakwater made up of concrete caissons 
in 191 7 in connection with proposed land- 
ings in Flanders. 6 In World War II Com- 
modore John Hughes-Hallett, senior naval 
representative of the C-in-C Portsmouth, 
was the real progenitor of the artificial 

4 Rear-Adm.H. Hickling, "The Prefabricated Har- 
bour," The Journal of the Royal United Service Institution, 
XG (August, 1945), 271. 

5 Digest of Opn Overlord, pp. 11, 20, and 
App. U. 

6 Comdr. Alfred B. Stanford, Force MULBERRY 
(New York, 1951), p. 40. 



harbor, although the Prime Minister again 
provided much of the inspiration and the 
drive in working out the solution of this 
basic invasion problem. In May 1942 Mr. 
Churchill sent his oft-quoted note to the 
Chief of Combined Operations directing 
that a solution be found for the problem of 
special berthing facilities on the far shore. 
Suggesting piers which "must float up and 
down with the tide," he ordered: "Don't 
argue the matter. The difficulties will 
argue for themselves." 7 

Under the direction of COSSAC British 
engineers carried out experiments in the 
spring of 1943 to determine the practica- 
bility of constructing a prefabricated port, 
and they succeeded in building a floating 
pier that survived the test of a Scottish 
gale. But the exact form which such a port 
should take was not immediately deter- 
mined, and the digest of Overlord pre- 
sented by General Morgan to the Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff at Quebec in August 
1943 consequently included only the most 
tentative outline plan for such a harbor. 
The sheltered anchorage, this plan "sug- 
gested," would be formed simply by sink- 
ing nineteen blockships to form a break- 
water. Berthing facilities would be pro- 
vided by four pierheads, consisting of four 
sunken vessels, which were to be connected 
to the shore by "some form of pontoon 
equipment." The daily discharge capacity 
of such an installation was expected to be 
approximately 6,000 tons. 8 The relatively 
simple form of the harbor thus outlined 
hardly suggested the myriad engineering 
problems that still had to be overcome, 
and resembled only in its barest essentials 
the harbors which eventually took form. 

The difficulties did indeed argue for 
themselves as Mr. Churchill predicted, for 
the magnitude and complexity of the task 
became more and more apparent. Many 

of the world's ports were "artificial" in 
that their sheltered harbors had been cre- 
ated by the construction of breakwaters. 
Cherbourg and Dover were both "made" 
ports in this sense. But whereas it had taken 
seven years to build the port of Dover in 
peacetime, the Allies were now faced with 
the problem of building a port of at least 
equal capacity in a matter of a few months, 
towing it across the Channel, and erecting 
it on the far shore amidst the vicissitudes 
of weather and battle. The plans as they 
were eventually worked out in fact called 
for the erection of two ports within fourteen 
days of the landings. 

Two major requirements had to be met: 
a breakwater had to be provided to form 
sheltered anchorage and thus permit dis- 
charge operations in bad weather; piers 
were needed onto which craft could un- 
load and thus supplement discharge from 
beached craft. Several solutions were con- 
sidered in connection with the problem of 
providing sheltered water. In 1942 Com- 
modore Hughes-Hallett proposed the use 
of sunken ships to form a breakwater. To 
the Admiralty this suggestion at first rep- 
resented nothing but the sheerest extrava- 
gance in view of the impossible task it al- 
ready faced in replacing the shipping lost 
to enemy submarines. The use of floating 
ships had the same drawback, of course, 
and in addition presented a difficult moor- 
ing problem. 9 One of the more novel solu- 
tions suggested was the creation of an "air 
breakwater." By the use of pipes on the 

7 [Clifford L. Jones] Neptune: Training for and 
Mounting the Operation, and the Artincial Ports, Pt. 
VI of The Administrative and Logistical History of 
the ETO, MS (hereafter cited as Neptune: Training 
for and Mounting the Operation), II, 1 10, OCMH. 

8 Digest of Opn Overlord, App. X, Annexure to 
App. X, and sketch SX, atchd. 

9 Rpt by Combined Adm Com, CCS, 2 Sep 43, 
sub: Artificial Harbors for Combined Opns, CCS 
307/2, SHAEF G-4 825.1 Mulberry I 44. 



ocean floor this scheme proposed to main- 
tain a curtain of air bubbles which theo- 
retically would interrupt the wave action 
and thus provide smooth waters inshore of 
the pipe. 10 This idea was actually not new 
either. Studies along this line had been 
carried out in the United States forty years 
before, and both Russian and U.S. engi- 
neers had conducted model experiments 
since 1933, although without conclusive 
results. The bubble breakwater would 
have required such large power and com- 
pressor installations that it was impracti- 
cal for breakwaters on the scale envisaged, 
and the idea was discarded as infeasible 
early in September 1943. 11 

Meanwhile experimentation was car- 
ried on with several other schemes. One of 
the earliest to receive attention was a de- 
vice called the "lilo," or "bombardon." 
Li-lo was the trade name for an inflated 
rubber mattress used on the bathing 
beaches in England. A British Navy lieu- 
tenant had casually observed at a swim- 
ming pool one day that the Li-lo had the 
effect of breaking up wavelets formed on 
its windward side, creating calm water in 
its lee, and conceived the idea of con- 
structing mammoth lilos for use as a float- 
ing breakwater. The idea was believed to 
have possibilities, and experimentation 
began in the summer of 1943. As first con- 
ceived the lilo — or Bombardon, the code 
name by which it was better known — had 
two basic components: a keel consisting of 
a hollow concrete tube 1 1 feet in diame- 
ter; and a canvas air bag above, about 12 
feet in diameter and extending the entire 
length of the unit. The keel could be 
flooded and submerged while the air bag 
extended above water. The Bombardons 
were 200 feet long and had a 12 -foot beam 
and a 13-foot draft, the concrete keel 
alone weighing about 750 tons. The first 

designs called for a rubberized canvas air 
bag, and a few units of this type were con- 
structed. Since they were vulnerable to 
puncture by small arms fire, however, 
later designs provided for a steel cruciform 
superstructure, about 25 feet in width. 12 

In essence the Bombardon breakwater 
would consist of a string of huge, air-filled, 
cylindrical floats, moored at each end, but 
laced together to form a thin screen of air 
which was intended to break up wave ac- 
tion and thus provide sheltered water. 
The Bombardons were believed to have 
an advantage over sunken blockships 
since they could be moored in compara- 
tively deep water and thus provide shel- 
tered water for the deeper-draft Liber- 
ties. 13 Nevertheless, from the very begin- 
ning there were doubts about their effec- 
tiveness and feasibility, and they were 
never expected to do more than dampen 
wave action and provide anchorage sup- 
plementary to the main harbor for deep- 
draft ships. 

Meanwhile experimentation had gone 
forward on another solution to the prob- 
lem — the caisson, or Phoenix, which 
eventually was to constitute the main ele- 
ment in the breakwater forming the har- 
bor. The Phoenixes were huge, rectangu- 
lar, concrete, cellular barges designed to 
perform much the same function as sunken 
blockships. Their main specification was 
that they have sufficient weight and 
strength to withstand summer Channel 
weather; at the same time they had to be 
towable, easily sinkable, and of simple 
enough design to be constructed with a 

10 Memo, Maj Gen G. R. Turner for Lt Gen A. G. 
G. McNaughton, 10 Aug 42, SHAEF SGS 800.1 
Mulberry I. 

11 Rpt by Combined Adm Com, 2 Sep 43. 

12 See photograph, p. 414. 

13 Rpt of Combined Adm Com, 2 Sep 43; Hick- 
ling, op. cit., pp. 274-75. 

CAISSONS, used for MULBERRY breakwater, sunken in position off the beaches, above, and 
afloat, below. 



minimum expenditure of labor and ma- 
terials. Five types were eventually built, 
varying between 1 75 and 200 feet in length 
and between 25 and 60 feet in height, the 
largest of them weighing 6,000 tons and 
drawing 20 feet of water. The Phoenix 
consisted fundamentally of a reinforced 
base with side walls tied together by rein- 
forced concrete bulkheads. Each was to be 
given a 10-foot sand filling to achieve the 
proper draft, then towed across the Chan- 
nel, flooded, and sunk at the 5-fathom 
(30-foot) line. The great height of the 
Phoenixes was dictated by the desire to 
provide a breakwater at sufficient depth to 
accommodate Liberty ships, which drew 
as much as 28 feet when loaded. The 
beaches selected for the assault had a very 
shallow gradient and tide ranges of more 
than 20 feet. The harbor therefore had to 
extend a full 4,000 feet from the shore in 
order to provide sheltered water for Lib- 
erty ships at low tide, and the largest cais- 
sons had to be 60 feet high in order to rest 
on the ocean floor and still provide a suffi- 
cient breakwater for deep-draft vessels at 
high tide. 14 

Experimentation on the second vital 
portion of the harbor — the berthing and 
unloading facilities within the break- 
water — had begun somewhat earlier in re- 
sponse to the Prime Minister's directive in 
1942. This was fortunate, for the engineer 
problems involved proved far more com- 
plex than those met in the construction of 
the Phoenixes. Once again the gradient 
of the beaches and tidal conditions largely 
determined the requirement. Low tide 
along the Normandy coast uncovered as 
much as a quarter of a mile of beach, and 
it was necessary to go out another half 
mile to reach water of sufficient depth — 12 
to 18 feet — for the discharge of coasters. 

The equipment developed to bridge 

this gap consisted of two basic compo- 
nents: pierheads, at which vessels were to 
berth and unload; and piers or roadways 
which connected the pierheads with the 
shore. Both were designed mainly by the 
British and involved an ingenious piece of 
engineering. The Lobnitz pierhead, as it 
was called, was an awesome-looking steel 
structure 200 feet long, 60 feet wide, and 
10 feet high, weighing upwards of 1,500 
tons. At each corner of the structure was a 
4 x 4-foot spud leg 90 feet high, the height 
of which could be adjusted independently 
by means of winches located between the 
decks. These spud legs could be retracted 
during the towing of the structure. Once 
the pierhead was placed in position the 
legs were lowered, their splay feet digging 
into the sea floor to steady the structure, 
and their height was then adjusted to keep 
the pierhead at uniform height above 
water at all stages of the tide. The Lob- 
nitz pierheads were intended to provide 
the principal unloading facilities for 
LCT's and LST's that were not beached 
and for coasters. They were so designed 
that any number could be linked together 
to form an extended berth. To connect 
pierheads with the shore a flexible steel 
roadway, known as the Whale, was de- 
veloped. The Whale pier consisted essen- 
tially of 80-foot sections of steel bridging, 
linked together by telescopic spans which 
gave it the needed flexibility to accommo- 
date itself to wave action, the entire 
Whale structure resting on concrete and 
steel pontons known as "beetles." At low 
tide the sections near the shore would 
come to rest on the sand. 

In the summer of 1943 the design of the 
artificial harbor had hardly reached the 
finality suggested by the above descrip- 

14 Hickling, op, cit. } p. 275; Stanford, Force MUL- 
BERRY, p. 66. 



tions of its various components. Because 
experimentation had not yet produced 
conclusive solutions to many problems, 
the plan which COSSAC submitted at 
Quebec in August was necessarily sketchy 
and vague. Nevertheless the Combined 
Administrative Committee of the Com- 
bined Chiefs of Staff concluded at that 
time that the construction of artificial har- 
bors was definitely feasible, and approved 
the project in its general outline. Early in 
September it rejected the bubble break- 
water idea, but recommended continued 
experimentation with all the other pro- 
posed solutions — Bombardons, Phoe- 
nixes, and sunken and floating ships — and 
urged the immediate construction of 

Phoenixes and Bombardons without 
awaiting the completion of trials and pro- 
totypes of the latter. These projects were 
given the highest priority for labor, equip 
ment, shipping space, and supplies, and 
construction of the first units now began in 

The respective spheres of responsibility 
of the United States and Britain with re- 
gard to experimentation and construction 
were also defined in September. By far the 
largest portion of the work had to be car- 
ried out in the United Kingdom, and the 
British consequently assumed major re- 
sponsibility for the design, testing, and 
construction of the Phoenixes, Bombar- 
dons, pierheads, and Whale bridging. 



Trials with floating-ship breakwaters were 
to be carried out in the United States, and 
the United States was also called on to 
provide some of the tugs that would be re- 
quired for towing purposes beginning just 
before D Day. The construction of Bom- 
bardons and the provision of ships for the 
breakwater were Admiralty responsibili- 
ties; all other components were to be de- 
signed and built by the War Office. 15 

The principal units under construction 
or trial by late November were the Bom- 
bardons, Phoenixes, sunken- and float- 
ing-ship breakwaters, pierheads, and 
piers. 16 There still was no definite blue- 
print of the harbors at that time, for there 
was continuing indecision as to the form 
the harbor should take. The use of sunken 
ships was still being considered, although 
it was realized that they were adaptable 
as a breakwater only in shallow water. 
The use of floating ships as a deepwater 
breakwater received less and less favorable 
consideration because of the mooring 
problem involved. 17 The relative merits of 
Bombardons and Phoenixes were still be- 
ing discussed, but there was continuing 
doubt as to the practicability of the former. 
Despite the indecision on these matters the 
final COSSAC draft of Overlord, pub- 
lished late in November 1943, specifically 
provided for two major artificial ports, one 
to be located at Arromanches-les- Bains in 
the British sector, with a capacity of 7,000 
tons per day by D plus 16 or 18, and one 
at St. Laurent-sur-Mer in the American 
sector, with a capacity of 5,000 tons. For 
reasons of security the two projects had by 
this time ceased to be referred to as arti- 
ficial ports. Late in October they had been 
christened with the code name by which 
they were henceforth known, the Ameri- 
can port being designated Mulberry A, 
and the British port as Mulberry B. 18 

The design of the ports was more 
clearly established early in 1944. By Jan- 
uary the concrete caisson or Phoenix was 
definitely adopted as the principal unit of 
the breakwater. It was to be supple- 
mented by sunken ships, the main reason 
being that sheltered waters were needed 
for a large number of craft in the earliest 
stages of the operation. Staff requirements 
had been amended in January to provide 
facilities for the discharge of 2,500 vehicles 
per day (1,250 at each port) by D plus 8 
in addition to the tonnage already men- 
tioned, and for shelter for small craft. The 
Mulberries were still big question marks 
at this time, as indeed they continued to 
be until the very time they began operat- 
ing. In any case, naval authorities were 
very doubtful as to whether the harbors 
could be effective by D plus 4, when a 
break in the weather could be expected. 
They had therefore proposed the con- 
struction of five partial breakwaters, 
known as Gooseberries, each about 1,500 
yards long, formed of blockships (referred 
to as Corncobs) sunk on the 2-fathom 
(12-foot) line at low water. There was to 
be one Gooseberry at Utah Beach, one 
at Omaha, and one at each of the three 
British beaches. Seventy ships were to be 
used for this purpose, steaming across the 
Channel and going into position on D 
plus 1, Ballasted to draw 19 feet of water, 
they were to be prepared with explosive 
charges which would be fired after the 

15 Annex to note by Secy Jt Stf Mission to COS 
Com, 12 Sep 43, sub: Artificial Harbors for Combined 
Opn, COS 529/0, SHAEF SGS 800.1 MUL- 

16 CM&SF Monthly Progress Rpt 5, for Dec 43, 
7 Jan 44, COS (44) 17 (0), SHAEF SGS 800.1 MUL- 

17 Rpt by Combined Adm Com, 2 Sep 43. 

18 Ltr,Brig Sir Harold Wernher to COSSAC, 21 
Oct 43, sub: Mulberry, COSSAC/CMSF/67, 
SHAEF AG 820-1 Artificial Harbors. 



ships were properly planted, blowing holes 
below the water line so that they would 
sink rapidly. 19 These shallow-water 
Gooseberries would provide early pro- 
tection for the large number of tugs, fer- 
ries, dukws, and landing craft plying 
between the ships and beaches and for the 
craft which had been beached. At Omaha 
and Arromanches they would tie in with 
the Phoenixes to form a longer break- 
water enclosing the entire harbor. 20 The 
sheltered area formed by the breakwater 
at Mulberry A was to provide a harbor 
of about two square miles, with moorings 
for 7 Liberty ships, 5 large coasters, and 7 
medium coasters. 

The plans for berthing and discharge 
facilities at the American installation 
finally called for three Whale piers or 
roadways, one of 40 tons capacity (which 
could carry tanks) and two of 25 tons ca- 
pacity. All three were to extend more than 
3,000 feet out from the shore to about the 
two-fathom line. There they were to con- 
verge on six Lobnitz pierheads, grouped 
to accommodate both LST's and coasters. 
These installations were to give the port 
a capacity of 5,000 tons of cargo and 1,400 
vehicles per day. This was regarded as a 
conservative estimate, and the capacity of 
the harbor was actually believed to be 
well in excess of this minimum. 21 In addi- 
tion to these facilities, two ponton cause- 
ways were to be constructed at both 
Omaha and Utah Beaches to boost the 
unloading facilities for small craft such as 
LCT's and barges. These causeways were 
to be built of 5 x 7 x 5-foot ponton cells, 
bolted together into sections two cells wide 
and thirty long, and linked to form a 
roadw ay 14 fe et wide and 2,450 feet 
long. 22 |(Mfl/>7)| 

Both the British and American Mul- 
berries eventually also included a row of 

Bombardons, despite continued misgiv- 
ings as to their probable effectiveness. 23 
These ungainly looking floats were to be 
placed about 5,000 feet seaward of the 
high- water mark to break the swell and 
form an additional deepwater anchorage 
for the discharge of Liberty ships. The 
Utah Beach installation was to be much 
less elaborate. It was to have only a 
Gooseberry breakwater, formed by sink- 
ing ten blockships beginning on D plus 1, 
and the two ponton causeways. 

Over- all command of both Mulberries 
was given to Rear Adm. William Tennant 
(British). On the U.S. side Capt. A. Day- 
ton Clark was placed in command of 
Mulberry A, organized as Naval Task 
Force 127.1, but usually referred to as 
Force Mulberry. Brigadier Sir Harold 
Wernher was designated to co-ordinate 
the work of the War Office and the civil- 
ian Ministries of Labour and Supply in 
the construction of the many components 
of the ports. 

The construction and assembly of all 
the special port equipment proved a for- 
midable task, and, along with the many 
other preinvasion preparations, taxed the 
resources of the United Kingdom to the 

19 Hickling, op. cit., pp. 273-74. 

20 Ltr, Brownjohn to CofS SHAEF, 24 Jan 44, sub: 
Mulberry Stf Requirement, SHAEF G-4 825.1 
Mulberry I 44; Incl to Ltr, Wernher to Secy of Ad- 
miralty, 12 Jan 44, sub: Mulberry— Stf Require- 
ments, GOSSAG/GMSF/181, SHAEF SGS 800.1 
Mulberry I. See also Initial Joint Plan, and Nep- 
tune: Training for and Mounting the Operation, 
I, 138. 

21 Rpt of Combined Adm Com, 2 Sep 43, p. 6. 

22 Neptune: Training for a-nd Mounting the Oper- 
ation, II, 1 15. 

23 By December 1943 the rubber-type Bombardon 
had been abandoned. Meanwhile two of the steel 
cruciform prototypes had broken their backs in a half 
gale, and measures had to be taken to strengthen the 
remaining units under construction. GM&SF 
Monthly Progress Rpt 5, for Dec 43, 7 Jan 44, 
SHAEF SGS 800. 1 Mulberry I. 




c==== Possible addition of phoenmes 


very limit in the last months before 
D Day. Many a sacrifice had to be made 
to permit the huge project to go forward, 
the Ministry of Labour giving up expert 
tradesmen and power equipment, the 
Army temporarily releasing men from the 
colors, the Navy foregoing frigate and air- 
craft carrier production. As General Mor- 
gan later observed, "Half of England 
seemed to be working on it and a lot of 
Ireland as well." 24 Despite the high prior- 
ities covering all phases of the project, 
planners and commanders responsible for 
the Mulberries were haunted by a thou- 

sand and one problems and fears until the 
ports were finally established, and they 
had to make many compromises with the 
goals originally set. Early in 1944, plans 
called for the construction of 113 Bom- 
bardons, 149 Phoenixes, 23 pierheads, 
and 6 roadways, and for the acquisition of 
74 vessels for the sunken-ship breakwaters. 
The towing problem involved in the as- 
sembly and movement of the 600-odd 
major units involved was unprecedented. 
It was estimated at first that 200 tugs 

24 Sir Frederick Morgan, Overture to Overlord (Gar- 
den City, N. Y., 1950), pp. 263, 264-65. 



would be needed for the task and that 
they would be occupied a full three 

These requirements soon proved be- 
yond the capabilities of U.K. resources. 
The construction of Phoenixes had begun 
at the end of October 1943. Within two 
months the work had already fallen three 
or four weeks behind schedule, partly be- 
cause the design of the caissons was al- 
tered, partly because the proper types of 
freight wagons to deliver steel were in 
short supply, and partly because contrac- 
tors were unable to obtain the allocation 
of enough laborers, particularly in certain 
skilled categories. By 1 December 15,000 
workers were supposed to have been as- 
signed to the Phoenixes, but less than half 
this number were on the job at that date. 25 
To meet the labor requirements it was 
eventually necessary to hire large num- 
bers of Irish workers — a measure that in- 
volved additional security risks* Finding 
construction sites alone was a tremendous 
problem, for each caisson was equivalent 
in size to a five-story building. Some of the 
caissons were built at the East India docks 
in London, but dry docks were not avail- 
able for the entire project, and special 
basins had to be dug behind river banks 
along the tidal stretches of the Thames, 
where the work was partially completed. 
The banks were then dredged away and 
the units floated to wet docks for comple- 
tion. Construction of the Phoenixes was 
farmed out to some twenty-five contrac- 
tors and eventually required about 30,000 
tons of steel and 340,000 cubic yards of 
concrete in addition to other materials. 26 

In the construction of the Lobnitz pier- 
heads, which got under way somewhat 
earlier, bottlenecks developed also. In De- 
cember 1943 it was announced that only 
15 pierheads could be delivered by D Day 

instead of the desired 23. Plans for the 
U.S. Mulberry, which had called for 8 of 
these units, were therefore altered to pro- 
vide for only 6. Because of prior commit- 
ments for the manufacture of landing craft 
and heavy engineering equipment it was 
necessary, as with other components, to 
split up the contracts among a large num- 
ber of structural steel works in all parts of 
the country and to prepare entirely new 
shipbuilding sites for the launching of the 
pierheads. The same was true in the con- 
struction of the Whale bridging for the 
roadways, and because of the wide distri- 
bution of the contracts it was almost im- 
possible to obtain details of the manufac- 
turing progress. About 240 firms were 
eventually involved in fabricating the ma- 
terials for these units, using 50,000 tons of 
steel. 27 When construction fell behind 
schedule in March and April, a U.S. 
Naval Combat Battalion (the 108th) was 
assigned to assist in the manufacture of 
this equipment. 28 

Shortages of one type or another also 
forced a reduction in the number of Bom- 
bardons and in the number of ships for 
the Gooseberries. The number of Bom- 
bardons was eventually cut from 1 13 to 
93. In the case of the blockships the orig- 

25 Memo, Gapt C. R.Johnson, USN, for Jt LogStf 
Com ETOUSA, 15 Dec 43, sub: U.S. Mulberry A 
Progress to 15 Dec 43, EUGOM 334 Jt Log Stf Com 
I; Ltr, J. W. Gibson, Ministry of Supply, to Brig 
Wernher, 29 Nov 43, SHAEF AG 820-1 Artificial 
Harbors; Rpt on Mulberry A, prep by Gapt Clark 
and Gol John R. Hardin, Deputy Chief Engr, 15 Jan 
44, ETO 800.1 Harbors; Ltr, G. W. S. Friedrichsen to 
author, 21 Sep 51, giving data on planned construc- 
tion provided by Hist Sec, Cabinet Offices, OGMH. 

26 Note by Jt Parliamentary Secy, Ministry of Sup- 
ply, 30 Jan 44, COS (44) 103 (0), SHAEF AG 820-1 
Artificial Harbors, 2. 

27 Memo, Johnson for Jt Log Stf Com, 15 Dec 43; 
Note by Jt Parliamentary Secy, Ministry of Supply, 
30 Jan 44. 

2s Neptune: Training for and Mounting the Op- 
eration, II, 1 16. 



inal request for about 80 had brought 
loud protests from the Admiralty. When 
the admirals began to ponder the proba- 
ble alternative, however, and visualized 
their landing craft smashing against the 
beach for lack of sheltered waters, they re- 
considered, and more than 70 vessels — 
"mostly old crocks" — were eventually 
provided, about 25 of them by the U.S. 
War Shipping Administration and the re- 
mainder by the Ministry of War 
Transport. 29 

The towing problem finally proved as 
onerous as any of the other procurement 
difficulties, and in the final months before 
the invasion it was touch and go as to 
whether the lag in construction or the 
shortage of tugs would be the greater 
limiting factor. Until the end of April con- 
struction was the main worry, and in that 
month the Ministry of Production even 
provided a labor reserve to meet any 
emergency demands. 30 But anxiety over 
the construction schedule was eased some- 
what in May, and all the essential units 
were in fact ready by the time of the inva- 
sion, although it was after the middle of 
May before the first operational Lobnitz 
pierhead was turned over to its U.S. Navy 
crew at Southampton. Fortunately the 
commander of the American Force Mul- 
berry ordered a thorough test of the pier- 
head that included discharging a fully 
loaded LST. The trial run disclosed 
numerous defects, and men struggled 
night and day under the relentless driving 
of the indefatigable Captain Clark to 
make the necessary modifications. 31 

No amount of last-minute effort could 
surmount the towing problem, and in the 
end it proved to be the most critical bottle- 
neck. As each piece of equipment was 
completed it had to be towed, in some 
cases hundreds of miles, to the place of as- 

sembly on the south coast of England, and 
the movement of 600-odd units to the far 
shore within a two-week period posed the 
biggest tow job of all. The construction de- 
lays that developed in the spring only 
aggravated the problem, for the failure to 
complete units on schedule had the effect 
of compressing all towing commitments 
into a shorter period. There was little 
point in meeting construction schedules, 
in other words, if tugs were unavailable to 
tow units across the Channel. Here was 
another example of a single shortage or 
shortcoming creating a bottleneck which 
threatened to frustrate the successful exe- 
cution of an entire plan. It was estimated 
in February that 200 tugs would, be 
needed for all invasion commitments, of 
which 164 were required for the Mul- 
berry units. An allocation of 158 tugs was 
made for the artificial ports sometime 
during the spring; but despite the round- 
ing up of every suitable vessel that could 
be spared in both the United Kingdom 
and the United States, only 125 were 
made available by the time of the inva- 
sion. Of these, 24 were taken for tempo- 
rary service with various types of barges, 
leaving a bare hundred to meet the Mul- 
berry requirements. In light of this short- 
age it was necessary on the very eve of the 
invasion to set back the target date for the 
completion of the Mulberry installations 
on the far shore from D plus 14 to D plus 
21. 32 

29 Ltr, Morgan to Secy COS Com, 21 Jan 44, sub: 
Mulberry and Gooseberry, Annex, SHAEF SGS 
800.1 Mulberry I; Rear Adm H. Hickling and Brig 
I. L. H. MacKillop, Story of the Mulberries, MS, and 
Ltr, Friedrichsen to author, 21 Sep 51, OCMH. 

30 Ltr, Ministry of Production to Secy COS Com, 
25 Apr 44, sub: Provision of Artificial Harbors, COS 
(44) 370 (0), SHAEF SGS 800 Mulberry I. 

31 Stanford, Force MULBERRY, Ch. VII. 
32 TWX, ANCXF to SHAEF et al, 2 Jun 44, 

SHAEF G-4 825.1 Mulberry II 45. 



In the months just before the invasion 
the question of how long the artificial 
ports were to be kept in operation received 
increasing attention. This matter was 
closely related to the estimates as to when 
the deepwater ports could be captured 
and brought into operation. The original 
plans for the artificial ports provided that 
they were to remain effective for ninety 
days, by which time deepwater ports were 
expected to be restored and able to handle 
the required tonnages. As early as March, 
however, after the tactical plan was re- 
vised, further logistical studies of the 
maintenance problem after D plus 90 re- 
vealed that the capacity of the ports would 
almost certainly have to be supplemented 
by that of the Mulberries for an addi- 
tional thirty days (to D plus 120) and, 
unless operations went extraordinarily 
well after D plus 120, even through the 
winter months. Even if the Loire and Brit- 
tany ports were captured by D plus 45, it 
was concluded, the difficulties likely to be 
met in restoring and operating the lines of 
communications made it doubtful that 
U.S. forces could be supported entirely 
through those ports by D plus 90, and the 
British would not be able to have the sole 
use of Cherbourg after that date, as 
planned. In any case, Cherbourg and the 
smaller Cotentin ports did not have suffi- 
cient capacity in themselves to maintain 
the British forces after D plus 90. Thus, if 
the Seine ports were not captured and put 
into operation by D plus 120 it would be 
essential to keep the Mulberries operat- 
ing to maintain British forces. The chief 
administrative officer at SHAEF, Lt. Gen. 
Sir Humfrey M. Gale, therefore urged 
that measures be taken to extend the use- 
fulness of these ports. This entailed the 
construction of additional Phoenixes as 
reserves and also the strengthening of the 

ports during the summer so that they 
might withstand the winter gales. General 
Gale also requested that spare blockships 
be provided to replace any that might 
break up. The necessity for prolonging the 
life of the Mulberries was immediately 
accepted, and in March construction of an 
additional 20 Phoenixes was therefore 
approved. 33 

(2 ) Beach Organization 

While the artificial ports represented 
one of the most ingenious engineering ac- 
complishments and one of the invasion's 
most expensive investments of resources, 
they were to remain largely untried expe- 
dients and therefore unknown quantities 
until they were subjected to the twin tests 
of battle and weather off the Normandy 
coast. Of equal importance to the logistic 
preparations for the operation was the 
organization of the beachs, across which 
all equipment and supplies would have to 
pass in the initial stages regardless of 
whether they were discharged at the pier- 
heads and brought ashore via the road- 
ways or were discharged from landing 
craft at the water's edge. 

Beach organization was to have special 
importance in Overlord because of the 
magnitude of the forces to be built up over 
the Normandy beaches and because of the 
extended time during which the beaches 
were to serve as major points of entry for 
both troops and supplies. The Omaha and 
Utah Beach areas were to be the bases for 

33 Ltr, Gale to CofS ANCXF, 9 Mar 44, sub: Con- 
struction of Mulberries, SHAEF SGS 800.1 Mul- 
berry, Case A; Ltr, Smith to Secy COS Com, Mar 
44, sub: Construction of Mulberries, and Min of 
Mtg, 1 7 Mar 44, to consider means to prolong life of 
Mulberries into winter months, 21 Mar 44, Office 
of ANCXF, X/091/14, SHAEF SGS 800.1 
Mulberry I. 



the first continental lines of communica- 
tions. The initial organization of these 
areas was therefore a vital preliminary 
step in the transition to the normal ad- 
ministrative organization provided by the 
Communications Zone. 

Responsibility for developing and oper- 
ating the first supply installations on the 
far shore was assigned to the engineer spe- 
cial brigades: the 1st Engineer Special 
Brigade at Utah, and the Provisional 
Engineer Special Brigade Group, consist- 
ing principally of the 5th and 6th Brigades 
and the 1 1th Port, 34 at Omaha where the 
Mulberry was to be located. As attach- 
ments to the First Army in the first stages 
of the operation these units were required 
to prepare plans based on the engineer 
special brigade annex to the First Army 
plan, and the brigades accordingly car- 
ried out detailed planning for the early 
organization of the beach areas. 

In the next chapter more will be said 
about the origins and development of the 
engineer special brigades. These organ- 
izations, mothered by the necessities of the 
frequently recurring amphibious opera- 
tions of World War II, were specially 
trained and equipped to handle the tech- 
nical organization of the beaches. As out- 
lined by a First Army operations memo- 
randum, their general mission was "to 
regulate and facilitate the landing and 
movement of personnel and equipment on 
and over the beach to assembly areas and 
vehicle parks, to unload cargo ships, to 
move and receive supplies into beach 
dumps, to select, organize, and operate 
beach dumps, to establish and maintain 
communications, and to evacuate casual- 
ties and prisoners of war over the beach to 
ships and craft." 35 In short, it was their 
duty to insure the continuous movement 
of personnel, vehicles, and supplies across 

the beaches in support of a landing opera- 
tion. By "the beaches" was normally 
meant an area known as the "beach 
maintenance area," which included the 
beach, the first segregated supply dumps 
inland, and the connecting road net, an 
area which usually did not extend more 
than three miles inland. At Omaha the 
beach maintenance area included Mul- 
berry A and the minor ports in the 

The mission defined above involved a 
formidable list of tasks. Among them were 
the following: marking hazards in the 
vicinity of the beaches and determining 
the most suitable landing points; making 
emergency boat repairs; establishing med- 
ical facilities to collect, clear, and evacuate 
casualties to ships; controlling boat traf- 
fic; directing the landing, retraction, and 
salvage of boats; maintaining communi- 
cations with naval vessels; marking land- 
ing beach limits; constructing and main- 
taining beach roadways and exit routes; 
establishing and marking debarkation 
points and landing beaches; unloading 
supplies from ships and craft; assisting in 
the removal of underwater obstructions; 
clearing beaches of mines and obstacles; 
erecting enclosures for guarding prisoners 
of war, and later evacuating them to 
ships; establishing army communications 
within the brigade and with other bri- 
gades and units ashore; constructing land- 
ing aids; maintaining liaison with senior 
commanders ashore and afloat; maintain- 
ing order and directing traffic in the 
beach maintenance area; providing biv- 
ouac, troop assembly, vehicle parking, 
and storage areas in the beach mainte- 

34 See below, n. 48. 

35 FUSA Opns Memo 5, 13 Feb 44, in Operation 
Report Neptune, Omaha Beach, prep by Hist Sec 
ETOUSA, Sep 44, p. lxiii, OGMH. 



nance area for units crossing the beach; 
regulating and facilitating the movement 
of unit personnel and equipment across 
the beach and insuring the rapid move- 
ment of supplies into dumps; selecting, 
organizing, and operating beach dumps 
for initial reception and issue of supplies; 
selecting, organizing, and operating beach 
maintenance area dumps until relieved by 
the army; maintaining records showing 
organizations, materials, and supplies 
which had been landed; providing for de- 
contamination of gassed areas in the 
beach maintenance area; maintaining an 
information center for units landing; op- 
erating emergency motor maintenance 
service to assist vehicles and equipment 
damaged or stranded in landing and re- 
quiring de-waterproofing assistance; pro- 
viding local security for the beach mainte- 
nance area; and co-ordinating offshore 
unloading activities. 

Many of these tasks obviously called for 
troops other than engineers. In this re- 
spect the name "engineer special brigade" 
is misleading, for while the core of the bri- 
gade consisted of engineer combat battal- 
ions, each brigade normally contained a 
body of Transportation Corps troops, such 
as amphibian truck companies and port 
companies, exceeding the size of the engi- 
neer component, plus quartermaster serv- 
ice and railhead companies, and ord- 
nance, medical, military police, chemical, 
and signal troops. In addition, depending 
on its mission, each brigade was aug- 
mented by the attachment of a host of 
other units and special detachments such 
as bomb disposal squads, naval beach 
units, maintenance and repair companies, 
fire-fighting platoons, and surgical teams, 
which might raise its total strength to 
15,000 or 20,000 men. The engineer spe- 
cial brigade was a hybrid organization, 

therefore, without standard composition. 
But it was exactly this feature which gave 
it the desired flexibility and permitted it 
to be tailored to any task in an amphibious 

Portions of the brigades were scheduled 
to follow closely on the heels of the initial 
assault waves. Within the first two hours 
of the landings they were expected to com- 
plete the initial reconnaissance and beach 
marking preliminary to the development 
of the beaches. In that period advance 
parties of engineer shore companies, signal 
teams, and naval units were to come 
ashore, survey beach and offshore ap- 
proaches, plan the layout of beaches for 
landing points, roadways, and exits, in- 
stall ship-to-shore signal stations, and erect 
beach markers. Within the next two hours 
additional elements of the brigade would 
arrive, remove mines and beach obstacles, 
decontaminate beach areas, lay beach 
roadways, complete exits, establish col- 
lecting and clearing stations, start control- 
ling traffic, build stockades for the control 
of prisoners of war, assist stranded craft, 
control boat traffic, reconnoiter initial 
dump areas, and establish motor parks for 
first aid to water-stalled vehicles. By the 
end of the first day the brigade was to 
have established the brigade command 
post, a signal system, and assembly areas 
for troops, sign-posted all routes to the 
dumps, repaired roadways to the dumps, 
opened beach exits, organized antiaircraft 
defense, organized initial dumps for the 
receipt, sorting, stacking, inventory, and 
issue of supplies, and to have started un- 
loading supplies. Initial beach dumps 
were to be in full operation by the end of 
the first day. Within the next few days 
supplies were to be routed to new dumps 
established farther inland in the beach 
maintenance area. 



Brigade units were so grouped for the 
assault that they could operate independ- 
ently in support of specific landing forces. 
Each brigade was broken down into bat- 
talion beach groups, each consisting of an 
engineer combat battalion reinforced with 
the service elements necessary to support 
the assault landing of a regimental combat 
team. The battalion beach groups were 
further subdivided into companies, each 
of which was to support the landing of a 
battalion landing team and operate a 
beach of about 1 ,000 yards frontage. Once 
a beachhead had been won and the build- 
up began, service troops of the battalion 
beach groups were to revert to their par- 
ent units and operate under brigade con- 
trol. At this stage the brigades would 
move out of the narrow confines of the 
beach itself and begin to develop the 
beach maintenance area. 36 

The beach maintenance areas in effect 
would be microcosms of the future Com- 
munications Zone, for the brigades per- 
formed there most of the functions which 
the expanded Communications Zone later 
carried out in its base and advance sec- 
tions. Each brigade was organized to 
move 3,300 tons of supplies per day from 
ships and craft into segregated dumps, 
and to provide the technicians and labor 
necessary to operate those dumps. As ton- 
nage requirements increased, the capacity 
of the brigades was to be increased by the 
attachment of additional service troops, 
the improvement of beach facilities, and 
the development of local ports. As the 
Mulberry was completed and the minor 
ports were rehabilitated, other service 
troops were to be utilized under brigade 
attachment to operate them. This initial 
development of the continental supply 
structure was to be carried out directly 
under the control of the First Army, which 

planned to relieve the engineer special 
brigades of responsibility for operating the 
dumps in the beach maintenance area as 
early as possible, using its own service 
units for this purpose. Eventually, of 
course, an army rear boundary would be 
drawn, and the rear areas and the bri- 
gades themselves would be turned over to 
the Advance Section, which would as- 
sume full responsibility for operating the 
embryo Communications Zone until the 
arrival of the Forward Echelon of that 
organization itself. 37 

The brigades were thus destined to play 
an essential role in initiating the develop- 
ment of the far-shore logistic structure. 
Since they were to land in the first hours 
of the invasion, while the beaches were 
still under fire, they were expected to per- 
form both combat and service missions. 
That they were aware of their dual role is 
indicated by their reference to themselves 
as "the troops which SOS considers com- 
bat, and the combat troops consider 

(3) Port Reconstruction 

While the organization of the beaches 
and the Mulberries was important for 
the initial supply and build-up of forces 
on the Continent, the major burden of 
logistical support was expected to be pro- 
gressively assumed by the larger deep- 
water ports as they were captured and 
restored to operation. The Normandy 
area had been chosen as the site of the 
landings not only because it possessed the 

36 Neptune: Training for and Mounting the Op- 
eration, I, 141-42; Operation Report Neptune, 
Omaha Beach, App. A (Troop List), App. C (Jt 
Agreement between CG FUSA and Cmdr Task 
Force 122 for Amphibious Opns), and App. D (FUSA 
Opns Memo, 5, Engr Special Brigades Reinforced), 

37 FUSA Rpt of Opns, 20 Oct 43 to 1 Aug 44, 
Annex 1 1 (ESB Plan), Bk. IV, p. 26. 



best combination of features required for 
an assaulting force, including proximity 
to the port of Cherbourg, but also because 
it lay between two other groups of ports — 
the Seine and Brittany groups — permit- 
ting operations to develop toward one or 
the other. The Overlord planners actu- 
ally expected to rely completely on the 
Normandy and Brittany groups to de- 
velop the required discharge capacity for 
the Allied forces to D plus 90, and their 
plans for the rehabilitation of the ports in 
the lodgment area were made accordingly. 

Operating the continental ports was to 
be a Transportation Corps function, re- 
storing them was the responsibility of the 
Corps of Engineers. In the final Com- 
munications Zone plan this reconstruction 
work was given a priority second only to 
the development of beach installations. 38 
Planning for this task fell mainly to the 
Construction Division of the Office of the 
Chief Engineer, ETOUSA. U.S. partici- 
pation with the British in this planning for 
port salvage and repair began in July 
1942, immediately after the activation of 
the European theater, when American 
representatives attended meetings of the 
Roundup Administrative Planning Staff. 
General Davison, chief engineer of the 
theater, suggested the magnitude of the 
task of rehabilitating the European ports 
when he said that it could "best be visu- 
alized by imagining what would have to 
be done to place back in operation the 
ports of Baltimore, Md., Portland, Me., 
Portland, Oreg., Mobile, Ala., and Savan- 
nah, Ga., plus ten smaller shallow-draft 
U.S. ports, assuming that these ports had 
been bombed effectively for two years by 
the R. A. F., then demolished and blocked 
to the best of the ability of German 
Engineer troops." 39 He recommended at 
that time the creation of specially organ- 

ized and equipped engineer port construc- 
tion companies reinforced by engineer 
general service regiments, and suggested 
that they be organized with personnel 
from large U.S. construction firms in the 
same way that American railways spon- 
sored railway operating battalions. These 
proposals were forwarded to the War 
Department, and the theater's needs in 
this respect were later met by the forma- 
tion of units substantially along these 

Shortly thereafter preliminary studies 
were undertaken of the problems involved 
in reconstructing particular continental 
ports. No operational plan was available 
at this early date, and the North African 
invasion intervened to detract somewhat 
from planning for continental operations. 
But the Roundup planning staff con- 
tinued its work throughout the winter of 
1942, and early in 1943 a subcommittee 
on port capacities in northwest Europe 
was organized under the chairmanship of 
a British officer, Brigadier Bruce G. 
White. This committee eventually ex- 
tended its investigations to the ports along 
the entire coast of northwest Europe from 
the Netherlands to the Spanish border. 

With the establishment of COSSAC in 
1943 the port committee was renamed, 
but its membership remained virtually 
unchanged. U.S. engineers still did not 
know definitely which ports they would be 
responsible for, but a great amount of 
preliminary planning was accomplished, 
and a mass of pertinent data was collected 
on the various ports. Procedure for the 
initial occupation of ports was worked out, 

38 Communications Zone Plan, issued by Hq 
FECOMZ, 14 May 44, Sec. XII, ETO Adm 376. 

39 Ltr, Davison to GofS ETOUSA, 13 Jul 42, cited 
in Port Construction and Repair, Hist Rpt 1 1, Corps 
of Engrs ETO, p. 4, ETO Adm. 



and spheres of authority were defined, fix- 
ing responsibility for the Engineers, the 
Navy, and the Transportation Corps, In 
October 1943 a Joint U.S. -British Assess- 
ment Committee drew up an analysis of 
capacity for each port in western Europe. 
This included draft, tonnage, operating 
plant, and weather data. For example, a 
port reconstruction estimate for Brest, 
which was expected to be one of the major 
American points of entry as it had been in 
World War I, contained a full description 
of the port, statistics on its prewar opera- 
tions, estimates of probable demolitions 
and obstructions and of the port's capac- 
ity, plans for reconstruction, including a 
timetable for such work, a schedule for the 
intake of cargo, and a mass of technical 
data, including graphs, charts, maps, and 
photos. The Office of the Chief Engineer 
eventually prepared detailed plans before 
D Day for eighteen ports in the Normandy 
and Brittany areas. 40 

The actual work of rehabilitating the 
captured ports was to be assigned to 
organizations specifically designed for this 
purpose — port construction and repair 
groups, or PC&R groups. The head- 
quarters and headquarters companies of 
these groups comprised a nucleus of spe- 
cialists trained in marine construction, and 
included a pool of heavy construction 
equipment together with operators. This 
nucleus was to be supplemented by engi- 
neer service troops and civilians to provide 
the necessary labor and, according to 
need, by dump truck companies, port 
repair ships, and dredges. The port con- 
struction and repair group with its attach- 
ments thus constituted a task group, 
tailored for the specialized mission of 
restoring ports, much as the engineer 
special brigades were organized for the 
task of developing the beaches. 

The equipment requirements for port 
reconstruction were difficult to estimate in 
advance, and little attempt was made to 
analyze and determine the requirements 
for individual ports. Instead a stockpile of 
materials was created, and estimates were 
made of the necessary repair and con- 
struction materials for a fixed length of 
quay, assuming a certain degree of de- 
struction. These estimates were used to 
develop standard methods of repair that 
would be generally applicable to all types 
of repair work in French ports. Apart 
from an initial representative list of basic 
materials and equipment accompanying 
the repair groups, reconstruction mate- 
rials were to be ordered to the Continent 
after the capture and reconnaissance of 
each port. 

The reconnaissance was to be an impor- 
tant preliminary to the rehabilitation of a 
port, and the composition of the recon- 
naissance party and its specific mission 
were planned long in advance. Normally 
the reconnaissance team was to consist of 
representatives of the COMZ G-4, the 
Advance Section, the chiefs of engineers 
and transportation, and occasionally 
SHAEF. Upon capture of a port this team 
had the mission of surveying it for damage 
to facilities, locating sunken ships and 
other obstructions, preparing bills of 
material, deciding the extent and methods 
of repair, determining the availability 
of local or salvageable materials, and 
arranging for the phasing in of the re- 
quired PC&R units for the actual recon- 
struction work. The reconnaissance team 
would therefore determine the degree of 

40 Ibid., pp, 10-11. These were Barfleur, Binic, 
Brest, Cherbourg, Cancale, Concarneau, Grandcamp, 
Granville, Isigny, Le Croisic, -Le Pouliguen, Lorient, 
Morlaix, Quiberon Bay, St. Brieuc, St. Malo, St. 
Nazaire, and St. Vaast. 



rehabilitation to be undertaken and the 
initial course of the reconstruction 
program. 41 

Several factors had to be taken into 
consideration in planning the reconstruc- 
tion of a port and arriving at its estimated 
capacity. Among them were its prewar 
capacity and use, the known and assumed 
damage to the port when captured, and 
the ability and availability of Army and 
Navy Engineer units. The damage factor 
was by far the most variable and unpre- 
dictable. For planning purposes, however, 
certain assumptions had to be made. It 
was figured, for example, that up to 90 
percent of the existing suitable quayage 
would be initially unusable. Of this, half 
was expected to be in such condition that 
it could be repaired fairly quickly or in a 
matter of days, and the remainder was 
expected to require varying amounts of 
work or be beyond repair in any reason- 
able time. It was also assumed that all 
craft in the harbors would be sunk, cargo- 
handling equipment destroyed and tipped 
into the water, most of the buildings in the 
port area demolished, road and railway 
access blocked with debris, entrances to 
ports and lock chambers blocked and all 
locks demolished, and water and electric 
services broken. In addition, it was antic- 
ipated that extensive dredging would be 
necessary in some cases to allow the 
entrance of anything but the shallowest- 
draft vessels into waters that had under- 
gone four years of silting. 42 

By D Day detailed plans were complete 
for the rehabilitation of Cherbourg, 
Grandcamp, Isigny, St. Vaast, Barfleur, 
and Granville in the Norma ndy area, and 
of St. Malo in Brittany. \jSee Map 7)| 
Cherbourg was the only large port in this 
group and was the first major objective of 
the American forces. Except for Gran- 

ville, all the others were very small and 
possessed discharge capacities of only a 
few hundred tons per day. Another 
Normandy port — Carentan — had been 
rejected as having a potential too meager 
to warrant the effort required for its 
rehabilitation. All were scheduled to be 
opened by D plus 30, and their restoration 
was therefore the responsibility of the 
Advance Section. The schedule for the 
opening of these ports and their estimated 
initial discharge capacities were as 
follows: 43 

Tonnage at 


Opening date 



D plus 11 








St. Vaast 









St. Malo 



Headquarters, Communications Zone, 
meanwhile made plans for the later recon- 
struction of the Brittany ports, the 
schedule for which was as follows: 

Tonnage at 

Port Opening date opening 

Brest D plus 53 3, 240 

Quiberon Bay 54 4, 000 

Lorient 57 800 

Although plans were made for phasing 
equipment and the required Engineer and 
TC units into the Brittany ports and a 
schedule was written for their opening, 
the ports of Normandy naturally enjoyed 

41 EngrRpt 11, pp. 11,46. 

42 ADSEG Neptune Plan, 30 Apr 44, Annex 6 
(Engrs), ETO Adm 377. 

43 Sources for these figures are: FUSA Neptune 
Plan, App. I to Annex 1 1 (ESB Plan), in FUSA Rpt 
of Opns, 20 Oct 43-1 Aug 44, Bk. IV, p. 46; ADSEG 
Engineer Plan; GOMZ Plan, App. N and Annex 13 



the first priority in development, and the 
plans for its six ports plus St. Malo were 
worked out in much greater detail before 

Of these seven ports all except Cher- 
bourg were tidal, drying out completely 
at low water. Most of them had a mud- or 
sand-bottomed basin and two or three 
quays which were entirely tidal, and at 
high water they could accommodate only 
vessels drawing a maximum of thirteen or 
fourteen feet. 44 In this respect they were 
typical of the French ports along the 
English Channel and the Bay of Biscay, 
where tide and weather conditions had 
required the construction of massive 
breakwaters, locked basins, and channels, 
in contrast with ports in the United 
States where such elaborate paraphernalia 
were unnecessary. 

St. Malo was known to have a large 
amount of locked quayage, but it could be 
blocked easily and had poor rail clearance 
facilities. Consequently it was considered 
suitable only for operations employing 
amphibian trucks (dukws) for at least the 
first ninety days. Granville, on the west 
coast of Normandy, had somewhat better 
facilities than the other ports. In addition 
to quayage in its Avant Port, where vessels 
could "dry out" (that is, beach at ebb tide, 
unload, and then float out on the next 
tide), Granville had a locked or "wet" 
basin with berthing facilities that could 
accommodate seven 4,000-ton ships of 
14-foot draft simultaneously. The Allies 
did not count on immediate use of the wet 
basin, for the enemy was expected to 
destroy the lock gates and sink blockships 
in the chamber. But with the removal of 
obstacles they planned to dry out coasters 
at the inner quays and to utilize Granville 
for the reception of coal and ammuni- 
tion. 45 

Although the movement of craft into 
and out of these "minor" ports would be 
restricted by the tide, they at least offered 
some protection from stormy weather, and 
the desperate need for discharge capacity 
in the early phases appeared to warrant 
bringing them into use. The total dis- 
charge capacity of these six minor ports 
was not great. At D plus 30 it was sched- 
uled to be 4,500 tons per day. At D plus 
60, with the small Brittany port of Lorient 
added, they were to develop a capacity of 
7,700 tons, and at D plus 90, 10,650 tons. 46 
As for clearance facilities, all the ports had 
good road connections, but only Granville 
had first-class rail clearance. All the other 
minor ports would have to be cleared by 
motor transport. 

The division of responsibilities and the 
procedure for restoring and operating the 
ports were defined in minute detail. Work 
of a more strictly marine nature was as- 
signed to the British and U.S. Navies, the 
former assuming responsibility for mine- 
sweeping the harbors, and the latter for 
removing obstacles such as sunken block- 
ships in the channels and along quays and 
for making hydrographic surveys. Recon- 
struction or enlargement of discharge fa- 
cilities was an Army Engineer responsibil- 
ity, and the plans for the first six weeks 
were written in full detail by the Advance 
Section. The ADSEC plan provided that 
a reconnaissance party should debark on 
D plus 3 and successively examine the con- 
dition of port facilities at all the minor 
ports, beginning at Isigny. As these pre- 
liminary surveys were completed, the com- 
manding officer of the port construction 
and repair group was to draw up a definite 

44 ADSEC Plan, Annex 6 (Engrs), App. A (I), Six 
Minor Ports; Engr Rpt 1 1, C-h. III. 

45 ADSEC Plan, Annex 6 (Engrs). 

46 COMZ Plan, App. N. 



reconstruction job schedule to meet the 
planned port capacity. The first repair 
work was to get under way on D plus 6 at 
Isigny and Grandcamp with the arrival of 
the headquarters of the 1055th PC&R 
Group and work parties consisting of ad- 
vance elements of the 342d Engineer Gen- 
eral Service Regiment. Upon completion 
of its task the entire group was to proceed 
in turn to St. Vaast, Barfleur., Granville, 
and St. Malo for similar projects. 47 

While repair and construction might 
continue for several months, as at Cher- 
bourg, the Transportation Corps was to 
start operating the ports as soon as the un- 
loading of cargo could begin. For this pur- 
pose the 1 1th Major Port was attached to 
the Provisional Engineer Special Brigade 
Group at Omaha to handle pierhead op- 
erations at the Mulberry and to operate 
the small ports of Isigny and Grand- 
camp. 48 It was also to furnish a detach- 
ment to the 1st Engineer Special Brigade 
to operate the small port of St. Vaast (and 
eventually Carentan, as it turned out) in 
the Utah area. The operation of Barfleur, 
Granville, and St. Malo was to be super- 
vised by the 4th Major Port at Cherbourg. 
Another major port, the 12th, was to take 
over the operation of Granville and the 
ports in the vicinity of St. Malo. The Al- 
lies hoped that St. Malo itself could be de- 
veloped to a capacity of 3,000 tons per 
day, and the St. Malo area, including 
Cancale and St. Brieuc, to 6,000 tons, and 
thus relieve beach operations at Omaha 
and Utah. They counted on the St. Malo 
development to provide all the tonnage 
capacity necessary to sustain the Third 
Army, and possibly even to debark some 
of its personnel. 49 

Since the minor ports possessed only 
limited capacities and were rather uneco- 
nomical to operate, their development was 

never intended to be more than a stop-gap 
measure designed to meet a portion of the 
discharge requirements in the period be- 
fore the full potential of the larger ports 
was realized. Plans for their restoration 
were completely overshadowed by those 
made for Cherbourg. This port was ex- 
pected to handle 6,000 tons at D plus 30, 
7,000 at D plus 60, and 8,000 at D plus 90, 
and was to exceed in capacity the com- 
bined tonnage of the six minor ports 
throughout the first 60 days. Even Cher- 
bourg was to have but a temporary im- 
portance for U.S. forces, for plans were 
tentatively made to turn the port over to 
the British after a short time, and to route 
the major portion of American cargo 
through the Brittany ports and later 
through others farther up the Channel. 
Cherbourg, however, played a wholly un- 
expected role in the support of U.S. forces 
and eventually ranked as one of the big 
three of the continental ports. 

The relatively high tonnage targets for 
Cherbourg appear optimistic in view of 
the port's peacetime performance. Cher- 
bourg, home of the French luxury liner 
Normandie, had been primarily a passenger 
port and a naval base. It had handled an 
average of less than 900 tons per day, 
ranking twenty-second among all the 

47 ADSEG Plan, Annex 6 (Engrs), App. A (I), Six 
Minor Ports. 

48 A "major port" consisted basically of a port 
headquarters and headquarters company and a vary- 
ing number of port^ truck, and amphibian truck com- 
panies, but it usually also had many special units. The 
1 1th Port, for example, consisted of a headquarters 
and headquarters company, 12 port companies, 11 
QM service companies, 6 QM truck companies (TG), 
3 amphibian truck companies (dukws), an ordnance 
medium automotive maintenance company, a port 
signal company, a harbor craft company, and a 
finance disbursing section. Operation Report Nep- 
tune, App. A. 

49 ADSEG Plan, Annex 14 (TG). 




AERIAL VIEW OF CHERBOURG. Digue de Querqueville, 1; Naval Arsenal, 2; 
Nouvelle Plage, 3. 

French ports in cargo tonnage. Warehouse 
and storage facilities were correspondingly 
small, and cargo-handling equipment was 
in keeping with a port that specialized in 
passenger trade rather than freight. 50 

Built up over a period of two hundred 
years, Cherbourg's port facilities were es- 
sentially completed in the early 1920's, 
but at the outbreak of World War II they 
were still undergoing improvements de- 
signed to facilitate the berthing of the 
largest ocean liners. Cherbourg's harbor 
is artificial, consisting of a double set of 
breakwaters which form both an inner 
and outer roadstead, one known as the 
Petite Rade and the other as the Grande 
Rade. The only facilities in the outer har- 

bor consisted of tanker berths along the 
Digue de Querqueville, the western arm 
of the outer breakwater, which the Allies 
intended to restore for the bulk reception 
of POL. Otherwise the outer harbor was 
chiefly an anchorage, affording some pro- 
tection to shipping, but too rough in 
stormy weather to permit lighterage op- 
erations. The inner roadstead was work- 
able in all weathers. Both had sufficient 
depth at all variations of the tide to receive 
the largest ocean liners. 

The Petite Rade, or inner.harbor, con- 
tained almost all of the port's berthing 

r>0 Cherbourg — Gateway to France: Rehabilitation 
and Operation of the First Major Port, prep by Hist 
Sec ETOUSA, 1945, MS, p. 5, OCMH. 



facilities, most of which were concentrated 
along the western and southern sides. The 
entire western side of the port was oc- 
cupied by the great Naval Arsenal, con- 
sisting of repair shops, drydocks, and 
maintenance facilities grouped around its 
three basins — the Avant Port, Bassin 
Charles X, and Bassin Napoleon III — and 
including additional berthing facilities at 
the Quai Hornet and along the Digue du 
Hornet, the western jetty enclosing the in- 
ner harbor. This area alone was expected 
to provide discharge facilities for 5 Liberty 
ships, 2 train ferries, 24 coasters, and 2 

Just south of the main arsenal installa- 
tion lay the seaplane base and its three 
small basins — the Bassin des Subsistences, 
Avant Port, and Port de POnglet — which 
were expected to provide berths for 1 3 
coasters. Adjoining this area to the south- 
east was a broad bathing beach known as 
the Nouvelle Plage, believed to be ideal 
for unloading vehicles from LST's. Imme- 
diately to the east of this beach and di- 
rectly in the center of the harbor lay the 
entrance channel to the Port de Com- 
merce, consisting of two basins (the Avant 
Port de Commerce and the Bassin a Flot) 
which jutted deeply into the heart of the 
city. These two basins were planned to ac- 
commodate 17 coasters and 2 LST's with 
tracks for the discharge of railway rolling 

Dominating the entrance to these basins 
was the large Darse Transatlantique, the 
deepest portion of the harbor, where the 
Quai de France and the Quai de Norman- 
die provided berthing for large passenger 
liners, and where discharge facilities were 
now to be provided for 7 Liberty ships, 2 
LST's carrying rolling stock, and a train 
ferry. A large tidal basin in the southeast 
corner of the port was believed to be suit- 

able for the reception of additional vehicle- 
carrying LST's. 

In all, the port was expected to provide 
berths for 12 Liberty ships, 18 LST's (6 of 
which would deliver rolling stock), 56 
coasters, 2 tankers, 3 colliers, and 1 train 
ferry. In addition, the harbor of course of- 
fered alternative anchorage for other ship- 
ping which could be worked by lighters — 
either dukws or barges. When these facili- 
ties were fully developed the port was ex- 
pected to attain a daily discharge capacity 
of 8,000 tons. 51 

Despite the assumption that the enemy 
would carry out a systematic destruction 
of Cherbourg before surrendering it, Al- 
lied planners hopefully scheduled the 
opening of the port and the start of limited 
discharge operations three days after its 
capture. The procedure for restoring 
Cherbourg and bringing it into operation 
was similar to that described for the minor 
ports. In the three days following its cap- 
ture the Royal Navy was to sweep mines 
from the harbor, and U.S. naval salvage 
units were to begin removing blockships. 
Rehabilitation of the port's inshore facili- 
ties meanwhile was to be undertaken by 
the 1056th Port Construction and Repair 
Group, with attached elements of an engi- 
neer general service regiment, an engineer 
special service regiment, and an engineer 
dump truck company. A reconnaissance 
party of this organization was scheduled 
to debark at Utah Beach on D plus 5, 
proceed to the port on D plus 8, and im- 
mediately establish priority of debris clear- 
ance in the port area. In conjunction with 
the Navy salvage party, it was to establish 
priority for ship salvage and removal op- 
erations for approval of the port com- 
mander. It would also decide on the 

51 ADSEG Plan, Annex 6 (Engrs), App. A (II). 



schedule for initial quay repair jobs and 
examine locations where initial cargo dis- 
charge from dukws, barges, and LST's 
could begin, 

The actual rehabilitation work was to 
begin the second day after capture (D plus 
10), early priority being assigned to such 
projects as debris clearance from the Quai 
Hornet area, preparation of LST landing 
sites on the Nouvelle Plage, and construc- 
tion of a tanker berth at the Digue de 
Querqueville on the west side of the outer 
harbor. By D plus 1 1 progress on these 
first projects was expected to be sufficient 
to permit the unloading of about 1,600 
tons of cargo by a combination of dukws 
and barges unloading from Liberties and 
coasters, the unloading of at least one 
docked coaster direct to a usable quay, 
and the discharge of 840 vehicles per day 
from LST's at the Nouvelle Plage. By the 
fourth day the Allies planned to boost un- 
loading to about 3,800 tons, and by the 
tenth to about 5,000 tons. The great bulk 
of this discharge was to be carried on by 
dukws and barges working Liberty ships 
and coasters at anchor. In fact, only one 
coaster berth and four Liberty berths were 
expected to be in use at the end of the first 
month of operations, and direct ship-to- 
shore discharge consequently was ex- 
pected to account for only a fraction of 
total discharge in these early weeks. 

Some conception of the minute detail 
and scope of preparations for the rehabili- 
tation of the ports can be gained from a 
glance at the engineer reconstruction 
plans. In sheer bulk the ADSEC engineer 
plan outweighed that of all other services 
combined, comprising two thick volumes 
of data on the Normandy ports. These in- 
cluded an analysis of their facilities, a 
schedule of reconstruction, and a detailed 
catalogue of equipment and material 

needs. The length and width of every 
quay, the depth of water alongside, the 
nature of the harbor bottom, the number 
and types of cranes, the capacities of 
berths, road and rail clearance facilities, 
all were set down in inclosures to the plan. 
Next, every reconstruction project was de- 
fined and given a priority, and units were 
phased in to undertake these jobs in pre- 
scribed order on specific days. On the 
basis of the above data, the ADSEC plan- 
ners estimated the type and number of 
craft that could be accommodated and 
the tonnage discharge targets that should 
be met on each day by the beaching of 
vessels, by dukw, coaster, and barge dis- 
charge, and by direct unloading from 
either coasters or deep-draft ships. In me- 
ticulous detail they drew up lists of mate- 
rials needed in the reconstruction, specify- 
ing the exact quantities of hundreds of 
items from bolts and nails, ax handles, 
valves, washers, and turnbuckles in quan- 
tities weighing only a few pounds, to heavy 
hoists, tractors, sandbags, and cement, 
weighing many tons. The ADSEC plan 
scheduled twenty-one projects to be 
started by D plus 31, establishing the days 
and priority in which they were to be un- 
dertaken, specifying the crews available 
for each job, and the time in which they 
were to be completed. While it was un- 
likely that this clocklike schedule would 
be followed to the minute in view of the 
many unforeseeable circumstances, plans 
nevertheless had to be made on the basis 
of the most optimistic forecast of tactical 
progress in order that logistical support 
should not fall short of requirements. 

A picture of the personnel and equip- 
ment required to operate the ports is af- 
forded by the Transportation Corps plan. 
For the beach areas alone, including the 
minor ports in the vicinity, the basic units 



allotted included 1 major port headquar- 
ters (the 11th), 10 port battalion head- 
quarters, 48 port companies, 1 harbor 
craft service company, 7 quartermaster 
truck companies, and 19 amphibian truck 
companies. Cherbourg was assigned 1 
port headquarters (the 4th), 6 port bat- 
talion headquarters, 20 port companies, 2 
harbor craft service companies, 1 port ma- 
rine maintenance company, and 4 am- 
phibian truck companies. Floating and 
nonfloating equipment needs at the 
beaches included 950 dukws, 16 tugs, 7 
sea mules, 66 barges, and varying num- 
bers of cranes, tractors, trailers, and vari- 
ous types of boats. Cherbourg was to be 
furnished 200 dukws, 176 barges, 38 tugs, 
1 1 sea mules, a floating drydock, and vari- 
ous crane barges, landing stages, and 
boats. These items were solely for harbor 
use. On shore there were additional re- 
quirements for 69 cranes of various sizes 
and types, 30 derricks, plus conveyors, 
trailers, and tractors. 52 In addition to 
these elaborate plans for the development 
of the port's discharge capacity the Com- 
munications Zone plan scheduled the in- 
troduction of railway equipment to meet 
the corollary requirement of developing 
Cherbourg's clearance facilities. 

Plans for the rehabilitation of the Brit- 
tany ports were written in far less detail, 
since the final decision regarding the de- 
velopment of that entire area was to de- 
pend on circumstances following the bat- 
tle of Normandy. No specific units were 
named to handle reconstruction and op- 
eration of the Brittany ports, although es- 
timates were made as to types of units and 
quantities of equipment needed to bring 
Brest, Quiberon Bay, and Lorient into op- 
eration. Plans for the Brittany ports had 
undergone several alterations. Before 
April 1944 they contemplated the devel- 

opment of St. Nazaire, Morlaix-Roscoff, 
St. Brieuc, Concarneau, and Le Pouliguen 
in addition to St. Malo, Lorient, and 
Brest. With the acceptance of the Qui- 
beron Bay (Chastity) project early in 
April the final COMZ plans provided for 
the restoration of only Lorient, Brest, and 
St. Malo with its adjacent beaches at Can- 
cale, and the development of Quiberon 
Bay. These four ports were planned to de- 
velop a daily capacity of about 17,500 
tons. 53 

The plan that finally evolved for the de- 
velopment of Quiberon Bay differed sub- 
stantially from the original concept. A 
study of the area revealed that while the 
bay itself provided ample anchorage of re- 
quired depth, and while the inland trans- 
portation net could be developed to 
needed capacity, bad weather conditions 
barred the use of lighters to unload ships 
in the winter. The development of deep- 
water berths was likewise found to be im- 
practicable since the wide tidal range and 
the gentle slope of the sea bottom near the 
shore would have required the construc- 
tion of extremely long piers. The answer 
to the problem lay rather in the Auray 
River, which flows into Morbihan Gulf 
and Quiberon Bay from the north. This 
estuary had scoured a narrow channel al- 
most eighty feet deep near the small fish- 
ing village of Locmariaquer, providing 
deep and sheltered water where large 
ships could lie alongside piers or landing 
stages and discharge their cargo, and an- 
chorage from which light erage oper ations 
could be safely conducted. \^Map 8)\ 

As finally evolved the plan cailed for 
moorings for thirty deep-draft vessels in 
the deepwater "pool," and a landing stage 
designed to float up and down with the 

5 * ADSEG Plan, Annex 13 (TG). 
51 COMZ Plan. 

H Johrtsione 

MAP 8 



tide providing berths for five Liberty ships 
at the edge of the deepwater anchorage. 
Two fixed-construction causeways were to 
extend across the tidal flat from the shore 
to the landing stage. In addition a floating 
pier, constructed of naval lighterage pon- 
tons, was planned south of the landing 
stage, and an existing mole with rail con- 
nections farther north was to be extended 
into deep water to make possible the 
handling of heavy lifts. These facilities 
were expected to give the port a capacity 
of 10,000 tons per day. 

The Ghasity project had much to com- 
mend it. Among its attractive features was 
the fact that it made the most of an exist- 
ing natural advantage — that is, sheltered 
water — and that it required only a frac- 
tion of the labor and materials that were 
to go into the artificial ports or Mulber- 
ries. Furthermore, no special design or 
manufacturing problems were involved, 
for all the components of the piers and 
landing stage consisted of standard mate- 
rials and equipment already available. 54 

The port capacities given above were 
those embodied in the final Overlord 
plan, and represented substantial revisions 
made in March and April 1944, when it 
was realized that additional discharge ca- 
pacity would be needed. As plans stood at 
that time the port situation remained very 
tight for both the Overlord and post- 
Overlord periods and imposed a consid- 
erable rigidity in logistical plans, for every 
port and beach would be forced to work to 
capacity. In fact, it was estimated in 
March that port capacities would actually 
fall short of U.S. tonnage needs at D plus 
41. By that date the daily requirements 
would total approximately 26,500 tons, 
while discharge capacities were estimated 
to reach only 20,800. 55 

In March and April the entire problem 

had been restudied with a view toward 
making up the recognized deficiencies. 
The substitution of the Chastity project 
for St. Nazaire and the other minor Brit- 
tany ports was a partial solution. But the 
Brittany ports were not scheduled to come 
into use until after D plus 50. Measures 
were also taken in March to prolong the 
life of the Mulberries. In addition, esti- 
mates were revised, first, of the time re- 
quired to capture the ports, and second, 
of the time required to open the ports. At 
the same time the estimates of their ton- 
nage capacities were increased. Cher- 
bourg's maximum capacity, for example, 
was boosted from 5,000 to 8,000 tons. Its 
capture was more optimistically scheduled 
for D plus 8 instead of D plus 10, and the 
time required for its opening changed 
from ten to three days. Cherbourg was 
thus scheduled to receive cargo on D plus 
1 1 instead of D plus 20, and in greater vol- 
ume. As a result of similar alterations in 
the schedule for the other ports the 
planned tonnages of the Normandy ports 
were increased by over 4,000 tons per day. 

Two encouraging developments made 
these revisions possible. Experience in the 
Mediterranean, particularly at Philippe- 
ville and Anzio, indicated that ports could 
be brought into operation and capacities 
developed much faster than had been orig- 
inally believed possible. In addition, both 
the British and Americans had greatly im- 
proved their equipment and engineering 
techniques for the reconstruction of de- 
stroyed ports. All these developments were 
reflected in the final plans. The Nor- 
mandy and Brittany port plans as they 

54 Col. S. A. Potter, Jr., "Quiberon Bay," Military 
Review, XXXI (September, 1951), 45-53. 

55 Memo, 21 A Gp Plans, 13 Mar 44, sub: Subse- 
quent Maintenance of British and U.S. Forces — 
Overlord, SHAEF 12 A Gp 400.402 Maintenance, 
Equipment, and Supplies. 



Beach and Port Plans for Operation Overlord 


Port or Beach Date 


Omaha Beach D Day 

Utah Beach D Day 

Quineville Beach D+3 

Isigny D+ll 

Cherbourg . D+ll 

Mulberry A D+12 

Grandcamp D+ 1 5 

St. Vaast D+16 

Barfleur D+20 

Granville D+26 

St. Malo. D+27 

Brest & Rade de Brest D+53 

Quiberon Bay D+54 

Lorient D+57 

were written into the final COMZ and 
ADSEC plans in May are summarized 
above. 56 

These final estimates were regarded as 
adequate to meet the needs of U.S. forces 
in the first three months. But even these 
schedules were subject to last-minute re- 
vision. With the discovery in May of an 
additional German division in the Coten- 
tin peninsula the tactical plans of the VII 
Corps had to be amended only a few days 
before D Day. The estimated capture date 
of Cherbourg was changed from D plus 8 
to D plus 15, with a resultant loss of ton- 
nage l estimated to total 34,820 tons for 
the period D plus 1 1 to D plus 25. 57 

Unfortunately the anxieties and uncer- 
tainties attending port planning were not 
to end with the establishment of a lodg- 
ment on the Continent. Port discharge was 
to become one of the most frustrating lim- 
iting factors of the continental operation 
and was to persist as a major logistic prob- 
lem for fully six months after the landings. 

At Discharge Capacity (in Long Tons): 


D plus 10 

D plus 30 

D plus 60 

D plus 90 

14, 700 

27, 200 

36, 940 

45, 950 

3, 400 

9, 000 

6, 000 

5, 000 

5, 000 

1, 800 

4, 500 

4, 500 

4, 000 

4, 000 

1, 100 










6, 000 

7, 000 


4, 000 

5, 000 

5, 000 

5, 000 






1, 100 









1, 500 

2, 500 



2, 500 

3, 000 

3, 240 

3, 240 

5, 300 

4, 000 

4, 000 

7, 000 




(4) Troop Build-up and Replacements 

Closely related to the problem of port 
and beach capacities was the matter of the 
continental troop build-up. The Over- 
lord operational plan prescribed that in 
the American zone the assault and imme- 
diate follow-up would consist of three in- 
fantry and two airborne divisions, to- 
gether with the necessary supporting 
troops, and that additional preloaded 
forces were to land on D plus 1 and 2. 

56 The port capacities as estimated in the COMZ 
plan in May were apparently adequate to meet the 
needs of U.S. forces. However, the records contain 
many conflicting figures on the whole subject of port 
capacities and their estimated capture and opening 
dates, and there were many changes in these estimates 
between the time of the Overlord estimates of July 
1943 and the final COMZ plan of May 1944. In no 
one place are enough figures gathered together on the 
estimates of U.S. tonnage requirements and port ca- 
pacities to justify comparisons and conclusions as to 
the adequacy of the port plans for any one date. The 
table figures are based on the COMZ Plan, Appen- 
dix N, with the following exceptions: estimated open- 
ing dates and tonnages for the beaches and minor 








1, 338, 900 

250, 000 

D Day 

"O" (Omaha) 

29, 714 

3, 241 

D Day 

"U" (Utah) 

30, 452 

3, 569 

D to D+l 

"B" (Follow-up) 

26, 492 

4, 431 

D+l to D+2 

Preloaded Build-up 

43, 472 

6, 063 

D+2 to D+14 


369, 061 

53, 352 

D+15 to D+90 


839, 709 

179, 344 

Thereafter the transfer of forces to France 
was to be accomplished by the shuttling of 
ships and craft between the United King- 
dom and the Continent and would be de- 
pendent on the repeated use of the same 
lift and on the speed with which this ship- 
ping could make the round trips between 
the two shores. In the first three months 
an American force of nearly 1,340,000 
men and 250,000 vehicles was scheduled 
to be moved across the Channel, the 
build-up target calling for 12 U.S. divi- 
sions on the Continent by D plus 30, 16 
by D plus 60, and 21(14 infantry and 7 
armored) by D plus 90, together with sup- 
porting combat troops, elements of two 
tactical air commands, and service 
troops. 58 

The preloaded forces were organized as 
follows: Forces O (for Omaha) and U (for 
Utah), approximately equal in size, con- 
stituted the initial assault forces, and to- 
gether totaled about 60,000 men and 

ports through D plus 20 are from the more conserva- 
tive FUSA figures in Annex 1 1, Appendix I of the 
FUSA Neptune Plan. Data for the period D plus 21 
to D plus 41 are from ADSEG Plan, the remainder 
from COMZ TC plan and Appendix N of the GOMZ 
Plan. The general practice followed has been to ac- 
cept the plans of the headquarters which was respon- 
sible for the particular period: FUSA for the early 
period; ADSEG for the intermediate phase to D plus 
41; and COMZ for the subsequent period to D 
plus 90. 

57 Memo, Vaughan, CG FECOMZ, for C-in-C 21 
A Gp, 1 Jun 44, sub: Delay in Capture of Watson, 
SHAEF 12 A Gp 825 Watson. 

6,800 vehicles. 59 They were to be loaded 
in ships and craft along the coast of south- 
ern England and were to land on the 
French beaches on the first tide. Force B, 
with a strength of about 26,500 men and 
4,400 vehicles, formed a follow-up force 
with various reinforcement units for the 
V Corps in the Omaha Beach area. This 
force was to be assault-loaded in ships and 
craft in the southwestern English ports 
and was to land on the second tide of 
D Day and and on D plus 1. In addition, 
a preloaded build-up force of 43,500 men 
and 6,000 vehicles, containing units for 
both beaches, was to embark in the Bristol 
Channel ports and cross the Channel on 
D plus 1 and 2. A total of more than 130,- 
000 men and 17,300 vehicles was thus 
loaded in all the available ships and craft 
before D Day. 

The remaining Overlord forces, sched- 
uled to enter the Continent by D plus 90, 
constituted the build-up proper. This 
movement depended on the availability of 
shipping. A statistical summary of the 
plan is given in the table at top of page. 60 
After D plus 90, divisions were to arrive in 
France at the rate of from three to five per 

58 COMZ Plan, Sec. VI (Troops); The Control of 
the Buildup of Troops in the Cross-Channel Amphib- 
ious Operation Overlord, Gen Bd Rpt 22, pp. 3-4. 

59 Airborne units are not included in these figures. 

60 FUSA Rpt of Opns, Bk. II, p. 142, for period D 
to D plus 14. Figures for D plus 15 to D plus 90 are 
from COMZ Plan, Sec. VI (Troops), and do not in- 
clude 204,800 replacements. 




Field Forces 

Air Forces 



172, 900 

8, 500 



297, 200 




353, 100 

42, 600 



453, 800 

79, 900 



532, 400 

104, 500 



666, 400 

123, 900 

« Two airborne divisions withdrawn. 

month, the majority of them directly from 
the United States. 

Determining the make-up of the force 
and the order in which the various units 
should be phased into the Normandy 
bridgehead posed another problem. The 
composition of the build-up as between 
field, air, and service forces is shown in the 
schedule tabulated at the top of this page. 61 
It can be seen that the most rapid build- 
up of divisions was to occur in the first two 
weeks of the operation, and that the field 
forces as a whole made up 75 to 80 percent 
of the assault and initial build-up forces 
through D plus 15. 62 It was natural that 
the assault and initial build-up forces 
should be composed primarily of combat 
units, for the first mission was to secure a 
beachhead. The field forces, consequently, 
were allotted the preponderant share of 
the available lift in the early stages, and 
whatever service forces other than those 
organic to the divisions crossed the Chan- 
nel in these first days, such as the units 
with the engineer special brigades, were 
attached to the assaulting corps. 

While the prior claims of the field forces- 
in the early stages were fully recognized, it 
was obviously desirable that service forces 
should be introduced as early as possible. 
The need for them would mount rapidly 
as ports were captured and as tactical 
progress required the development of the 
lines of communications. In allocating the 
available lift there arose the ever- recurring 





41, 200 

222, 600 

6, 700 

83, 500 

402, 600 

43, 600 

142, 300 

538, 000 

60, 200 

235, 100 

768, 800 

95, 100 

289, 600 

926, 500 

138, 800 

343, 600 

1,133, 900 

204, 800 

argument as to the proper ratios of combat 
and service troops. One facet of this eter- 
nal conflict has already been seen in the 
competition between ground and service 
forces for larger shares of the theater troop 
basis. In view of shipping limitations, the 
competition was bound to continue in the 
allotment of lift and in the preparation of 
the build-up priority lists. 

Desirous of having their forces made up 
of as many "fighting" elements as possible, 
field commanders naturally resisted the 
demand that a larger and larger portion 
of the troop basis consist of service troops. 
But modern warfare had brought about a 
relentless encroachment on the long- 
favored position of the combat forces in 
the troop basis, assigning an ever-expand- 
ing role to service troops and consequently 
demanding for them a larger and larger 
share of the "division slice." 63 Not only 
did growing mechanization require larger 
numbers of technicians and multiply the 

61 COMZ Plan, Sec. VI (Troops). 

62 The term field forces rather than ground forces is 
used throughout the plans to refer to all forces in the 
combat zone, and included service units with the 
combat commands. 

d3 The term "division slice" is used to express the 
relationship between the total theater strength and 
the number of divisions supported, and represents 
the total number of men involved in maintaining a 
division in the field. It is determined by dividing the 
theater strength (minus air forces) by the number of 
divisions in the theater. The normal division slice of 
40,000 was made up as follows: 15,000 in the division 
itself, 15,000 corps and army troops, and 10,000 
COMZ troops. 



tonnages and the number of supply items; 
the growing destructiveness of modern 
warfare, toward which the heavy bomber 
had made a large contribution, made it 
necessary to rebuild a country's lines of 
communications as armies moved along. 

The competition between combat and 
service troops for the available lift was 
pointedly illustrated in January 1944 
when the Supreme Command was consid- 
ering a major alteration in the Overlord 
plan that provided for an enlargement of 
both the assault area and the size of the at- 
tacking forces. One of the officers at a 
Supreme Commander's conference at that 
time expressed apprehension lest, with the 
changes, the service forces would also re- 
quest an increase in strength in the early 
stages. He believed such demands should 
be resisted. A representative of the service 
forces thought it necessary to re-emphasize 
that the requirements for service elements 
in the early stages must not be under- 
estimated nor neglected. General Eisen- 
hower recognized immediately that with 
a wider bridgehead the Allies would also 
have a wider road for the supply of the op- 
eration, and he thought it was logical that 
the strengthening of the assault forces 
should be accompanied by a correspond- 
ing strengthening of the administrative 
components. 64 Whatever force was placed 
on the Continent had to be a balanced 
one, and any attempt to introduce exces- 
sive combat forces without an adequate 
build-up of service forces and an increase 
in supply build-up capacity would reduce 
the division slice and lessen the support 
capabilities of the Communications Zone. 

In the final plans a force of 340,000 
COMZ troops as compared with about 
665,000 field force troops was scheduled 
to be built up in the first three months. 
The proportion of service troop strength 

was actually higher, since the field forces 
themselves contained substantial numbers 
of organic service units. In the first days 
COMZ troops were to comprise only 16 
to 18 percent of the total force landed. 
The build-up of service troops was to be 
stepped up in the second week and would 
comprise 21 percent of the total on D plus 
15, rising to 26 percent on D plus 25 and 
30 percent on D plus 40. On the eve of the 
invasion the troop basis provided for a 
division slice of 40,000 men, of which 
10,000 or 25 percent comprised the 
COMZ portion. 

Logistic planners regarded neither the 
current division slice nor the rate of serv- 
ice troop build-up as satisfactory. Acutely 
aware of the logistic demands of the oper- 
ation, they observed that between D plus 
50 and 90 U.S. service forces would be 
called on not only to support operations 
then in progress, but to establish bases and 
lines of communications to support future 
operations and increasing numbers of 
troops. Their tasks would include the de- 
velopment of port capacities, the creation 
of a large depot system, the improvement 
of roads, and the reconstruction of rail- 
ways. These jobs were considered abnor- 
mally difficult in Overlord because of 
the physical shape of the area, the antic- 
ipated change in the direction of advance 
(south, and then both west and east), and 
the approach of winter weather. Because 
the demands on the Communications 
Zone would be particularly heavy, the 
planners recommended that in the period 
D plus 50 to 80 the build-up of COMZ 
troops should take priority over tbue build- 
up of field forces. 65 

64 Min of Supreme Comdr's Conf, 24 Jan 44, 
SHAEF SGS 337/1 1 Supreme Comdr Conf. 

65 Adm Stf Study 11, G-4 SHAEF, 3 Jun 44, sub: 
Logistical Situation U.S. Forces D plus 41 -D plus 90, 
SHAEF 12 A Gp 370 SHAEF Plans, Adm Stf Studies. 



Whether such priority would actually 
be given depended largely on the course 
of operations. Meanwhile, the rate at 
which both combat and service units were 
to be shipped to the far shore was at least 
tentatively prescribed in what were 
known as Buildup Priority Lists. The U.S. 
forces in the Overlord operation con- 
sisted of several thousand units and de- 
tachments of varying size, many units 
being broken into two or more echelons 
for the movement across the Channel. 
Scheduling their shipment in the order 
best designed to meet both tactical and 
logistical needs was itself a vital element 
of the operational plan. 

To prepare these lists, essentially a re- 
sponsibility of the tactical commands, was 
a laborious task involving many consider- 
ations. The basic limiting factor governing 
the speed at which U.S. forces could be 
built up on the Continent was the avail- 
able lift. Estimates on the course of oper- 
ations, particularly the rate of advance, 
further determined the types and propor- 
tions of combat and supporting troops 
required on the far shore. Similarly, a 
forecast of areas progressively to be occu- 
pied by U.S. forces in France was a factor 
in determining the number of advance 
airfields to be established by the air forces. 
These estimates, by indicating the num- 
ber of troops requiring logistical support, 
provided a basis for calculating the build- 
up of service units. A number of other 
considerations bore heavily: the initial 
lack of port and rail facilities called for 
heavy reinforcement in Engineer and 
Transportation Corps units; the initially 
independent operations of the V and VII 
Corps in the assault necessitated that siz- 
able service elements be assigned to the 
corps in the early stages; and the threat of 
enemy air attack against large forces con- 

centrated in a small area required a large 
number of antiaircraft units and the early 
establishment of advance airfields. 

Many compromises eventually had to 
be made. In practice the field force, air 
force, and COMZ planners were allotted 
a proportion of the expected daily lift and 
were directed to name specifically the 
troop units which they desired included in 
each day's build-up. Finally, these re- 
quirements were arranged in a single list 
for priority of embarkation and move- 

Partial lists were prepared initially by 
the two assault corps, the V and VII. 
Since the assaults were to be carried out 
several miles apart, a more than normal 
responsibility for the conduct of the oper- 
ation in its early stages devolved upon the 
corps commanders. The two corps accord- 
ingly were given considerable independ- 
ence in their planning, and troops 
following the assault waves were to be 
phased so far as practicable according to 
priorities desired by the corps command- 
ers, The task of integrating the two corps 
lists and extending them for the later 
build-up was performed by the planning 
staffs of First Army and 1st Army Group. 
First Army's list, called List A, established 
the sequence of movement only through 
D plus 14 and, since First Army was in 
complete control of the entire beachhead 
in this phase, included only the units as- 
signed or initially attached to that head- 
quarters. The list for the subsequent 
build-up of U.S. forces assigned to First 
Army, Third Army, the Ninth Air Force, 
and the Communications Zone, which 
were expected to move to the Continent 
between D plus 15 and 90, was prepared 
by 1st Army Group and was known as 
List B. The completed lists showed in 
their anticipated order of movement pri- 



ority all units or portions of units which 
were to move separately, their personnel 
and vehicle strength, and their assign- 
ment. The preparation of the lists in- 
volved some of the most agonizingly 
detailed co-ordination of the Overlord 
planning, for there were endless changes 
in the designation, type, number, and 
composition of units. While the First 
Army list was firm early in April, it was 
not until much later that agreement with 
the various headquarters involved was 
reached on the 1st Army Group list. 

Late in May the receipt of information 
concerning added enemy strength in the 
Cotentin set off a chain reaction that il- 
lustrated how last-minute changes in tac- 
tical plans could affect all aspects of 
logistic arrangements. Anticipating in- 
creased resistance in the VII Corps sector, 
the planners concluded that progress 
would probably be slower, that Cher- 
bourg would be captured later than orig- 
inally estimated, and that there would be 
a delay in developing the discharge capac- 
ity of Utah Beach to the maximum. It 
was all the more imperative that commu- 
nications between the two corps be estab- 
lished at an early date. The expected 
delay in the capture of Cherbourg made 
it possible to phase back by five to seven 
days the units scheduled to open that port. 
This in turn freed sufficient lift to permit 
the earlier transfer of an additional infan- 
try division. To meet the expected need for 
additional combat strength, therefore, the 
First Army commander directed that the 
service troops in question be phased back 
and that another division (the 79th) be 
brought in over Utah Beach at about D 
plus 8. The Advance Section opposed the 
change, and warned that the resultant de- 
lays in the reconstruction of Cherbourg 
and of the railways might seriously affect 

its ability to support the operation. 66 The 
change was made, nevertheless, and 
proved to be but the first of many alter- 
ations in the build-up schedule. 

It was realized from the beginning that 
such alterations would have to be made, 
particularly after the operation got under 
way. The projected build-up was based on 
certain assumptions as to the course of the 
operation. However carefully these esti- 
mates might be made, the actual flow of 
troops to the Continent would have to 
meet the changing requirements dictated 
by the course of the battle, and in all 
probability would differ from the planned 
phasing. Provision for such departures 
from the planned build-up was made in 
the creation of separate control machinery 
known as the Buildup Control Organiza- 
tion, or BUCO, the planned operation of 
which is outlined in the next chapter. 
Meanwhile the staff of 1st Army Group 
also prepared an alternative build-up list 
to be used in the event that the progress of 
U.S. forces in Normandy was consider- 
ably slower than promised in the opera- 
tional plan. This alternative list provided 
for the assignment of an appreciably 
higher proportion of the available lift to 
combat units and consequently a more 
rapid build- up of combat forces at the ex- 
pense of supporting and service troops. It 
provided for the movement of twenty-one 
divisions to the far shore by D plus 65 in- 
stead of D plus 88 as scheduled in the 
accepted list, on the assumption that if 

66 Ltr, Col Hugh Cort, CofS ADSEG, to Deputy 
GG COMZ, FECOMZ, 27 May 44, sub: Effect of 
New Phasing of Opn Neptune on GOMZ Plan, 
EUGOM 381 Neptune, I; Rpt, 21 A Gp to G-3 
SHAEF, 4 Jun 44, sub: Status of Ping, SHAEF G-3 
GGT Ops £ A' 2 1 A Gp— General; Ltr, Plank, GG 
ADSEG, to DGofS FECOMZ, 26 May 44, sub: 
Changes in Tactical Plan FUSA, 12 A Gp 370 Plan- 
ning— ADSEG; ADSEG Operations History, p. 23, 
ETO Adm. 



progress was slower the lines of commu- 
nications would be shorter and fewer 
service troops would be required. 67 

The movement of replacements and the 
establishment of a replacement system on 
the Continent constituted an essential 
part of the Overlord build-up plan. The 
responsibility for drafting such a plan 
rested with the Replacement System, a 
separate theater command headed by Col. 
Walter G. Layman. The lack of a plan as 
late as the end of April caused some ap- 
prehension in higher headquarters. 68 But 
a plan to guide the movement of replace- 
ments and replacement installations to the 
Continent was published in mid-May as 
an annex to the Communications Zone 
plan. It provided for the transfer of more 
than 200,000 replacements to the Conti- 
nent in the first ninety days. 

The replacement plan followed the 
three-phase scheme which was common 
to all Overlord planning. During Phase 
I (D to D plus 14) the replacement system 
on the Continent was to be operated by 
First Army. Three separate replacement 
battalions were to be attached to First 
Army initially, one in support of each 
corps (V, VII, and XIX), to handle the 
processing of replacements requisitioned 
in advance. On about D plus 10 a replace- 
ment depot with two additional battalions 
was to cross to the Continent and assume 
control of all five battalions operating 
with the First Army. An operational re- 
serve of 5,000 replacements was to be 
shipped to the depot immediately from 
the replacement pool in the United King- 
dom. 69 In Phase II (D plus 15 to 41) the 
over-all control of the replacement system 
was to be exercised by the Advance Sec- 
tion. In this period an additional depot 
with four battalions was to be established 

on the Continent; two battalions were to 
be brought in for the support of the Third 
Army; and an armored force replacement 
battalion was to be established to form the 
nucleus of an armored force depot. The 
phasing in of the remaining replacement 
installations, including three more depots 
with eleven battalions, was to be com- 
pleted in Phase III (D plus 42 to 90). All 
depots were not of the same type, nor in 
direct support of the armies. Some served 
as replacement stockage depots, some as 
reception depots, and others were for 
casuals or for training. 70 All were to move 
to the Continent according to a prear- 
ranged schedule, although this was sub- 
ject to change as were all build-up plans. 

Long before D Day the theater worked 
out a requisitioning procedure for the nor- 
mal operation of the replacement system. 
But this procedure was not counted on to 
fulfill the needs of the initial stages of the 
invasion, for it was believed to be incapa- 
ble of responding quickly enough to the 
demands which heavy initial casualties 
were expected to cause. Large numbers of 
replacements would be needed quickly, 
and the existence of a water barrier be- 
tween the stockage pools and requesting 
units, causing both transportation and 
communications difficulties, was expected 
to create a great handicap to the expedi- 
tious filling of requisitions. Even the estab- 
lishment of three replacement battalions 
within the first week was not expected to 
meet the earliest demands. 

S7 Control of the Buildup, Gen Bd Rpt 22, p. 5; 
FUSAG Alternative Troop Priority List B, Tenta- 
tive, 18 June 44, EUCOMJt Opns Plan— Alternative 
Troop Priority List B, FUSAG. 

68 The Procurement and Use of Manpower in the 
European Theater, Pt. IX of The Administrative and 
Logistical History of the ETO (hereafter cited as Pro- 
curement and Use of Manpower), p. 17, OCMH. 

fi9 FUSA Rpt of Opns, Bk. II, p. 181. 

70 COMZ Plan, Annex 23 (Replacement Plan). 



Two methods were devised to meet the 
problem in the first fifteen days. To pro- 
vide for replacement needs in the first five 
days of the operation an initial over- 
strength of 2,500 men was authorized 
each assault division, and proportional 
overstrengths were also authorized the en- 
gineer special brigades. These over- 
strength increments were attached to the 
units in the United Kingdom and under- 
went training with them. At invasion time 
they were held in readiness on the near 
shore to be sent forward on a prearranged 

Beginning on D plus 5, when the over- 
strengths were expected to be exhausted, 
and continuing through D plus 14, re- 
placements were to be provided in "pack- 
ages" made up in advance. Each package 
was to contain 250 men organized into 
platoons and squads and commanded by 
officers and noncommissioned officers who 
were also replacements. Members of the 
ETOUSA adjutant general's staff had 
conceived the idea, proposing that the 
packages be formed by arm or service, 
and that their make-up be based on 
casualty experience in North Africa. An 
infantry package, for example, would con- 
sist entirely of infantrymen of varying 
specialties, such as riflemen, cannon crew- 
men, mechanics, antitank gunners, heavy 
weapons crewmen, and so on. 

The basic idea of the package system 
was eventually adopted, although in 
modied form. First Army substituted its 
own estimates on casualties, and rejected 
the idea of standardized packages. In- 
stead, advance requisitions were submit- 
ted, based on estimated losses by unit, and 
replacements were then grouped into in- 
crements of 250 men for processing and 
shipment. The packages varied therefore, 
depending on the type of unit for which 

they were intended, some being made up 
entirely of infantry, others of mixed 
branches, and each package was ear- 
marked for specific division or corps units. 
After D plus 14, replacements were to be 
obtained by the normal requisitioning 
procedure, by which they would be proc- 
essed by the various replacement battal- 
ions then operating on the far shore. 71 

To stock even approximately correct 
numbers of each type of replacement be- 
fore D Day was a difficult task, for it de- 
pended entirely on the accuracy of loss 
estimates. Estimates had to be made sev- 
eral months ahead of actual need so that 
the War Department could plan its train- 
ing program sufficiently in advance and 
establish the necessary shipping priorities. 
Initially the War Department authorized 
a specific allowance in the theater troop 
basis in order that an adequate stockage 
of replacements might be on hand for the 
invasion. On the basis of estimated losses 
from all causes in the first sixty days the 
theater was permitted to build up its pool 
of replacements to 84,1 10 men by 1 June 
1944. On that date the Replacement Sys- 
tem actually had a total of 76,026 men 
plus the 5,300 allocated to overstrength 
increments for assault units, making a 
total of 8 1,326. 

The army group commander had been 
called on to submit replacement require- 

71 Ltr, Hq ETO to CG FUSA, 30 Mar 44, sub: 
Simplified Combat Replacement Procedures, and 
1st Ind, FUSA to GG ETO, 8 Apr 44; Memo, Chief 
Field Force Replacement System for AG Classifica- 
tion Div, 10 Apr 44; Memo, AG Replacement and 
Classification Div for G-l, 21 May 44, sub: Package 
Shipments of Replacements; Memo, Col R. L. Gil- 
lespie, Ex O Replacement System, for G-l ETO, 3 
Jun 44. All in ETO GFRC 370.092 Reinforcements 
May 44 to Apr 45. Procurement and Use of Man- 
power, pp. 30-33; History of the Ground Force Re- 
placement System, ETO, Pt. I, Ch. Ill, ETO Adm 



ments for Overlord in January 1944. Be- 
fore submitting his figures he first had to 
estimate casualties — a process that in- 
volved some complex calculations* The 
average losses of any one campaign could 
not be used, for example, since casualty 
rates fluctuated in the course of opera- 
tions, with the heaviest losses occurring in 
the assault period. For purposes of calcu- 
lation the first 150 days of the operation 
were therefore divided into five thirty-day 
periods. Among the factors involved in 
estimating casualty rates in these phases 
were the strength of the enemy and esti- 
mates of his capabilities, the type of action 
expected, the terrain and weather, the 
probable number of drownings in the first 
days, and the expected nonbattle casual- 
ties. Additional estimates had to be made 
of the percentage of men that would be 
killed, wounded, and missing, and of the 
percentage of wounded that could be ex- 
pected to return to duty in 30, 60, 90, or 
120 days. Finally, it was necessary to esti- 
mate the need for replacements in each 
branch and in each occupational spe- 
cialty. Studies made in October 1943 con- 
cluded that 62 percent of all replacements 
would have to be infantrymen. In Feb- 
ruary 1944 this figure was raised to 64.3 
percent, and shortly before D Day it was 
again raised. 72 Obviously the problem of 
determining personnel requirements was 
full of unpredictables, and only the ex- 
perience of actual combat would test the 
validity of these calculations. 

The replacement problem did not end 
with the acceptance of working estimates 
of casualty rates and ratios for the various 
branches. Obtaining the needed number 
of replacements was not a simple matter 
of requisitioning, for the supply of man- 
power on which the theater could draw 
was by no means unlimited. The War De- 

partment warned the theater in January 
1944 that the manpower situation was al- 
ready critical and that conservation would 
have to be practiced. There was a short- 
age of several hundred thousand men in 
the planned strength of the army, a short- 
age that had been aggravated by the 
tendency to discharge men who were still 
capable of rendering useful service. Gen- 
eral Marshall urged at that time that men 
who were not physically perfect be re- 
tained in limited-assignment positions 
where possible and that able-bodied men 
be released for combat duty. 73 The kind 
of deficiency that had developed is illus- 
trated by the paratroop replacement 
shortage. Because of the lack of qualified 
volunteers, two parachute infantry regi- 
ments and two glider regiments had to be 
deactivated in the United States in order 
to meet the theater's requirements in these 
catagories. 74 

The manpower situation saw no im- 
provement as D Day approached. In 
March the War Department considered 
phasing back by one month the flow of re- 
placements to the United Kingdom. But 
after a restudy of manpower needs the 
theater concluded that all personnel 
requisitioned would be needed if Over- 
lord was to be launched as planned. In 
fact, the theater estimated that even with 
the current flow of replacements a pool 
adequate for only 60 days could be built 
up, and that the reserve would be com- 
pletely exhausted in 120 days. First Army 
thought the flow of men should be in- 
creased rather than curtailed. Meanwhile 
the theater complied with War Depart- 

7 - Procurement and Use of Manpower, pp. 43-47. 
'"Ibid., pp. 60ff. 

74 The History of the 12th Army Group, March 
1945, draft MS, I, 205, SHAEF 12 A Gp 370.2; Cbl 
4335, Marshall to Eisenhower, 6 Dec 43, P&O Cbl 



ment directives and initiated a conserva- 
tion program that stressed the economical 
use of manpower and extensive utilization 
of limited-assignment personnel. 

The War Department again applied 
the spurs to this program in April, and in 
the following month both the theater and 
the zone of interior took further economy 
measures. In May all SOS replacements 
were frozen in the 10th Replacement De- 
pot in the United Kingdom in order to 
screen out men suitable for duty with the 
field forces. In addition the theater com- 
mander ordered that all physically quali- 
fied infantry officers and enlisted men in 
noninfantry units not required for staff 
positions be made available as infantry 
replacements. At the same time the War 
Department cut in half the allotment of 
basic privates in T/O organizations to re- 
lease qualified men to the replacement 
system. Physical qualifications were also 
relaxed to make more men eligible for 
combat duty. Replacement depots ap- 
pointed boards to review the classification 
of all men previously listed as limited-as- 
signment and recommended the type of 
assignment for which the men were quali- 
fied. 75 The first weeks of combat on the 
Continent were soon to reveal the inade- 
quacy of these measures. 

(5) The Supply Plan 

The build-up of U.S. forces was 
planned with the idea that there should 
be put onto the Continent the maximum 
force that could be administratively sup- 
ported under full operational efficiency. 
Consequently the planned build-up of 
troops was inseparably related to planned 
flow of supplies to the far shore. The size 
of the force that could be built up on the 
Continent was limited from the beginning 

by the scale of logistic support which 
could be provided. The Allies knew that 
for several months after D Day more divi- 
sions would be available than could be 
maintained on the Continent, and one 
student of the problem estimated that ad- 
ministrative considerations would govern 
the rate of the build-up as late as D plus 
270. 76 

Essentially, the problem was to gear the 
build-up of troops with the flow of sup- 
plies in order to insure that both daily 
maintenance needs and adequate reserves 
were provided. Maintenance require- 
ments alone for a division slice were esti- 
mated to total approximately 900 tons per 
day in the early stages. Estimates of what 
constituted adequate reserves were altered 
as the invasion day approached. The Joint 
Administrative Plan of 19 April 1944 pre- 
scribed that an over-all reserve of 14 days 
of all classes of supply except ammunition 
and 5 units of fire of the latter be laid 
down in the Communications Zone for all 
troops by D plus 41. 77 This objective was 
found to be unattainable, and subse- 
quent modifications provided for a build- 
up of 7 days of supply of rations, 3 days of 
all other classes except ammunition, and 

75 Procurement and Use of Manpower, pp. 60-64; 
Ltr, WD AG to GG ETO, 23 May 44, sub: Reduc- 
tion of Basic Privates in T/O Units, ETO GFRC 
200.3 Personnel Requisitions, File B. 

76 Rpt, T. S. Riddell-Webster to COS Com, War 
Cabinet, n. d., SHAEF SGS 370.01 Rate of Build-up 
for Continental Opns; Memo, 21 A Gp (Plans), 15 
Mar 44, sub: Build-up Policy, and Brief for CofS 1 
A Gp, for Mtg, 15 Mar 44, SHAEF 12 A Gp 370 
Build-up, Dec 43 to Mar 45. 

77 The term "day of supply" is denned as the esti- 
mated average daily expenditure or consumption of 
an item, normally figured on the basis of pounds per 
man per day. It is used mainly for procurement pur- 
poses and in expressing the level of supply reserves in 
a theater or its major subdivisions. The term "unit of 
fire" was an additional unit of measure for ammuni- 
tion (Class V) supply. It was used for tactical pur- 
poses only, either to indicate stock levels in army de- 



2 units of fire. 78 The priorities for the 
build-up of these levels were in the follow- 
ing order: antiaircraft ammunition, Class 
I (rations), Class V (ammunition), and 
then Classes III (POL), II, and IV. An 
additional 7 days of supply of rations and 
5 units of fire were to be built up after the 
foregoing priorities had been met. Supply 
levels in the army zones at D plus 41 were 
to total 7 days of all classes other than am- 
munition, and 7 units of fire. 79 

To achieve these reserve levels and at 
the same time meet daily maintenance 
requirements plus air force supply needs 
and various other tonnages not included 
in the foregoing, such as coal and civil af- 
fairs supplies, planners estimated that re- 
ceipts would have to total approximately 
26,500 tons per day by D plus 41, assum- 
ing a build-up of fifteen divisions and a 
total troop strength of about 770,000 at 
that date. 80 At D plus 90, when there were 
to be twenty-one divisions on the Con- 
tinent and a total troop strength of 1,334,- 
000, they planned that theater reserves in 
the Communications Zone should be built 
up to a level of 21 days for most classes 
and 5 units of fire. Army levels were to be 
maintained throughout at 7 days of 
supply and 7 units of fire. 81 

Logistic planners at Supreme Head- 
quarters estimated that these levels could 
be attained only if supplies were landed at 
a rate 50 percent in excess of current 
maintenance requirements. In other 
words, the build-up of the desired reserves 

pots, or as a means of specifying the expenditure of 
ammunition permitted in the initial stages of an op- 
eration, and represented specified numbers of rounds 
of ammunition per weapon, varying with the types 
and calibers of weapons. For the 105-mm. howitzer, 
for example, it was 125 rounds, for the 155-mm. 
howitzer, 75 rounds, and for the 8-inch howitzer, 50. 
The two terms are not synonymous, and a unit of fire 
cannot be translated into days of supply. The former 
was abandoned as a yardstick after the war. 

required holding the troop build-up to a 
force which could currently be maintained 
by two thirds of the supplies landed, the 
balance being added to the reserve. 82 
Since daily maintenance requirements 
were expected to average about 800 tons 
per division slice in the D plus 41-90 
period, approximately 1,200 tons of sup- 
plies per slice would have to be landed 
every day for maintenance and normal 
reserves alone. Adding various other ton- 
nages such as coal, civil affairs supplies, 
boxed vehicles, preshipped equipment, 
and air force needs brought the total dis- 
charge requirement to about 45,000 tons 
per day at D plus 90. 83 

In the detailed arrangements made to 
meet the above requirements, particularly 
in the early stages of the operation, little 
was left to chance. Supply shipments were 
prescheduled for the entire first three 
months in order to guarantee the delivery 
of the minimum requirements of supplies 
and equipment. Daily requisitions for 
these predetermined needs were made for 
the entire ninety-day period on the basis 
of tonnage allocations made to the various 
requisitioning headquarters. Following the 

78 Except for antiaircraft ammunition, which 
would be built up to 7 units. 

78 Ltr, FUSAG to GGs FUSA, TUSA, et aL, 19 Apr 
44, sub: Allocation of Tonnages, SHAEF 1 2 A Gp 
370.2 FUSAG Allocation of Tonnages. 

80 Draft Memo, 21 A Gp, Mar 44, sub: Subsequent 
Maintenance of British and U.S. Forces — Overlord, 
SHAEF 12 A Gp 400.402 Maintenance, Equipment 
and Supplies. 

81 GOMZ Plan, App. L; Ltr, FUSAG to Armies, 
19 Apr 44, sub: Allocations of Tonnages; Jt Adm 
Plan, 19 Apr 44; Mechanics of Supply in Fast Mov- 
ing Situations, Gen Bd Rpt 27, p. 18, 

82 Adm Stf Study 11, G-4 SHAEF, 3 Jun 44, sub: 
Logistical Situation U.S. Force, D plus 4 1-D plus 90, 
SHAEF 12 A Gp 370, SHAEF Plans, Adm Stf 

83 Adm Appreciation, G-4 SHAEF, 17 Jun 44, sub: 
PosNNeptune Opns, SHAEF 21 A Gp 370.2 Adm 
Appreciation Post-NEPTUNE Opns. 



Overlord three-phase scheme, First 
Army assembled all data on its require- 
ments through D plus 14, the Advance 
Section (under the supervision of 1st Army 
Group) assembled data on the period D 
plus 15-41, and the Forward Echelon of 
Communications Zone compiled the re- 
quirements for the remainder of the 
ninety-day period. The assembled requisi- 
tions were sent to Headquarters, Com- 
munications Zone, the agency responsible 
for preparing and shipping supplies in ac- 
cordance with established schedules. 

One of the major problems in this plan- 
ning was the allocation of shipping. It was 
necessary, first of all, to co-ordinate the 
available tonnage lift with the estimated 
day-to-day receiving capacities of the 
beaches and ports. The capacities of the 
beaches were limited, and the Navy im- 
posed certain restrictions on the manner 
in which shipping was used. Further, it 
was necessary to allocate the lift to the 
major commands by supply services and 
classes of supply. The lift originally allo- 
cated for carrying supplies was insufficient 
to meet the minimum requirements of the 
forces at the rate of the build-up allowed 
by the allotted troop and vehicle-carrying 
craft. Shipping limitations consequently 
forced a reconciliation of the size of the 
force and rate of build-up with the main- 
tenance capacity of the supply-carrying 
craft. Eventually these difficulties were 
overcome and a balance was arrived at 
between the tonnage requirements of the 
force, the capacities of the beaches, and 
the shipping allocations. Requistions for 
supplies, phased by days, were then pre- 
pared on this basis and submitted to the 
SOS late in April and early in May. 84 

Most of the conditions that dictated 
special arrangements for the troop build- 
up also determined the special measures 

taken to insure an adequate flow of sup- 
plies to the far shore. All supply shipments 
in the first two weeks were to be prestowed 
and tactically loaded as specified by First 
Army. The result was a tremendous strain 
on depot, transportation, and port facili- 
ties, particularly the last, for cargo did 
not always arrive at the port in the order 
in which it was to be stowed, and in order 
to comply with stowage plans it often was 
necessary to hold cargo on cars in the port 
so that it could be loaded in accordance 
with discharge plans. The entire process 
was complicated by the necessity to as- 
semble partial shipments from two or 
more depots intended for loading on one 
vessel. Since the holding capacity of the 
ports was very limited, port officials were 
frequently forced to depart from stowage 
plans. 85 

Headquarters, SOS, issued detailed in- 
structions on supply movements early in 
May to insure that loading could be car- 
ried out in accordance with prepared 
stowage plans and that supplies would be 
moved to the ports with the shortest possi- 
ble rail haul and the fewest bottlenecks. 
From D Day to D plus 8 (designated as 
the prestowed period) supplies were to be 
shipped in MT ships (Liberties adapted 
for motor transport hauling), coasters, 
LCT's, LCV's, 86 and barges. Coasters 
varying in capacity from 200 to 2,000 tons 
were to begin arriving on the second tide 
on D Day, and were to constitute the 
backbone of the lift in this period. One 
hundred and twenty-six of these vessels, 
carrying about 90,000 tons, were pre- 
loaded as directed by First Army, some of 

84 12 A Gp Rpt of Opns, Bk. VI (G-4), p. 16; 
FUSA Rpt of Opns, Bk. I, pp. 31-32, Bk. V, pp. 

85 Mounting the Operation Overlord, Gen Bd 
Rpt 129, p. 18. 

86 Landing craft, vehicle. 



them solidly with ammunition, some with 
engineer supplies, others with ammuni- 
tion and rations. In all cases composition 
of the cargo was kept as simplified as pos- 
sible to insure immediate access to needed 
items and to permit rapid sorting and dis- 
tribution by the shore brigades. 87 Once 
the supplies were unloaded the coaster 
fleet was estimated to have a theoretical 
capacity of 1 7,000 tons per day, but this 
was expected to suffer attrition from 
enemy action and normal marine hazards. 

From D plus 9 to 21 (called the build- 
up phase) supply movements were to con- 
tinue via MT ships and coasters, and a 
limited number of commodity-loaded 
Liberty ships were to be dispatched to the 
far shore. But coasters were to continue as 
the major carriers in this period. Com- 
plete prestowage was expected to end 
during this phase because of the varying 
capacity of ships returning from the far 
shore and because of the impossibility of 
predicting what ships would be available 
once the shuttle service began. Instead, 
tonnages would be consigned to the load- 
ing port and the stowage plan determined 
there by the port commander. 

As handling facilities on the Continent 
became capable of unloading the larger 
ships there was to be a progressive transfer 
to the use of deeper-draft vessels. From D 
plus 22 to 41 (which the SOS referred to 
as the maintenance movement period) 
coasters were to continue to move supplies 
from the United Kingdom, but there 
would also be an increasing use of ocean- 
going ships, with more and more pre- 
stowed and commodity-loaded Liberties 
coming directly from the United States. It 
was also planned to commodity-load all 
craft leaving the United Kingdom. Finally, 
beginning on D plus 42 (the change-over 
period) ocean-going ships, largely from 

the United States, were to bear the main 
burden of the build-up, supplemented by 
a reduced coaster fleet from the United 
Kingdom. 88 

Scheduling supply requirements as 
much as three months in advance, and 
preloading the first two weeks' shipments, 
necessarily imposed a considerable rigidity 
in the entire supply movement program, 
just as the Buildup Priority Lists did in the 
movement of personnel. No one could 
predict with complete accuracy the precise 
needs of the forces ashore for even a short 
period. Fully aware of this weakness in the 
supply plan, logistic planners devised sev- 
eral expedients to achieve a degree of flexi- 
bility in the phasing of supplies in the 
early stages of the operation. They also 
took special measures to set up emergency 
reserves as an insurance against interrup- 
tions in the flow of supply. 

One of the expedients devised to pro- 
mote flexibility was the Red Ball Express, 89 
a kind of "special delivery" service under 
which 100 tons of shipping space was set 
aside each day beginning on D plus 3 to 
meet emergency requests from the far 
shore. All supplies requisitioned under the 
Red Ball procedure were to be given top 
priority in packing, marking, and docu- 
mentation, in movement to the port, and 
in handling and loading. Under another 
procedure, known as Greenlight, 600 
tons of ammunition and engineer fortifica- 
tion materials could be substituted on de- 
mand, depending on tactical needs, for 
scheduled shipments of engineer Class IV 

87 Ltr, Brownjohn to CAO, 26 Mar 44, sub: Emer- 
gency Supply, SHAEF G-4 400 Supplies, General, II. 

88 Hq SOS, Opn Overlord Supply Movement 
(U.S.) Instructions, 6 May 44, EUCOM 381 Over- 
lord, Supply Movement; Mounting the Operation 
Overlord, Gen Bd Rpt 129, pp. 12-17, 

89 Not to be confused with the Red Ball motor 
transport express later established on the Continent. 



supplies on any day. Requests for such 
substitutions were to allow six days for de- 
livery. The Greenlight procedure was 
not to become effective until D plus 14. As 
in the case of Red Ball, priority was to be 
given in the handling of all such shipments 
at the depot, in movement to the port, and 
in dispatch to the Continent. 

Both Red Ball and Greenlight pro- 
vided a measure of flexibility in the type 
and quantity of supplies to be shipped to 
the far shore, although their purposes 
differed. Red Ball was established to pro- 
vide for purely emergency shipments of 
items the need for which could not be fore- 
seen in setting up scheduled movements. 
It was also a means of speedily replacing 
highly critical items lost in operations, 
items that the normal supply build-up 
could not deliver in time. Greenlight, on 
the other hand, was based on the recogni- 
tion that the prescheduled shipments of a 
very limited tonnage and type of supply 
might not meet tactical requirements. 90 

An additional degree of flexibility was 
provided through supply by air. Certain 
supplies were set up in advance for de- 
livery on semiautomatic basis to the two 
airborne divisions, and parachute-packed 
supplies were also prestocked for emer- 
gency delivery to isolated units. In addi- 
tion, as soon as continental landing fields 
were available, delivery of 6,000 pounds 
per day within forty-eight hours of request 
was provided for. 91 

Certain emergency reserves were also 
set up. Initially eighteen preloaded LCT's 
(of 140 tons capacity each) were to be 
beached at the tail end of the first tide on 
D Day. They were loaded primarily with 
ammunition and engineer bridging mate- 
rials for which there was expected to be a 
demand early on D Day. Each LCT car- 
ried a truck and sufficient personnel to un- 

load its supplies above the high-water 
mark. In addition, eighty-seven LBV's 92 
(each with a capacity of 50 tons) were to 
begin arriving on D plus 1 for use in ferry- 
ing supplies from the coasters to the beach. 
They were preloaded with ammunition, 
POL, and engineer construction materials 
so that upon arrival they would be ready 
for immediate discharge without waiting 
for coasters to arrive. Since they were self- 
propelled they could be phased in as de- 
sired. Lastly, twenty 500-ton barges 
loaded with ammunition, POL, rations, 
and engineer construction materials were 
to be towed across the Channel within the 
first four days to serve as an additional 
bad-weather reserve. These provided a 
controlled floating reserve over and above 
planned maintenance and were to be 
beached and unloaded only in the event 
that scheduled shipments broke down. 93 

The above measures did not dispel all 
worries about the adequacy of the supply 
arrangements. General Moses, the G-4, 
was not satisfied that they would give the 
needed flexibility in supply movements, 
and he was even more concerned over the 
matter of building up adequate reserves 
on the Continent. Only a few weeks before 
D Day he recommended that the theater 
G-4 consider the establishment of ma- 

90 FUSA Rpt of Opns, Bk. V, p. 140; Mounting the 
Operation Overlord, Gen Bd Rpt 129, p. 14; 1st 
Ind, Stratton to U.S. Adm Stf at 21 A Gp, 15 Jun44, 
EUCOM 400.22 Shipments General, I. The Red Ball 
procedure was specified in ETO SOP 8, the Green- 
light procedure in SOP 4 1 . 

91 FUSA Rpt of Opns, Bk. V, p. 140. Procedure for 
air supply was laid down in ETO SOP 9. 

92 A landing barge which could carry either sup- 
plies or vehicles and could be beached. 

93 Ltr, Brownjohn, Deputy G-4 SHAEF, to CAO, 
26 May 44, sub: Emergency Supply, SHAEF G-4 400 
Supplies, General; FUSA Rpt of Opns, Bk. V, pp. 
1 39-40. The barges were requisitioned from the 
United States in the spring of 1944 and were towed 
to the United Kingdom by large tugs. 



chinery paralleling the organization which 
was intended to control the troop build- 
up. However, the COMZ staff believed 
that an additional monitoring agency was 
neither desirable nor necessary. While ad- 
mitting that prescheduled shipments in- 
evitably entailed a certain degree of rigid- 
ity, it nevertheless believed that the vari- 
ous means of making emergency ship- 
ments and displacing scheduled ship- 
ments outlined in theater SOP's provided 
the needed flexibility, and that it would be 
possible to cope with any special demands 
made by commanders on the far shore. 
Moreover, these procedures did not ex- 
haust the means that could be utilized to 
meet serious emergencies. Virtually the 
entire daily supply lift, the COMZ staff 
argued, was available at all times for 
emergency loading, the only limit being 
the capacity of rail and truck facilities in 
the United Kingdom to move supplies to 
the ports. 94 

General Moses had even graver misgiv- 
ings on the subject of the reserve build-up. 
There appeared to be no question that 
maintenance requirements could be met 
satisfactorily, at least in the first six weeks. 
The difficulty was that tonnage discharge 
was to be limited in the early phases, prin- 
cipally because port facilities for the recep- 
tion of large ships would be lacking, and 
it was therefore impossible to plan for the 
build-up of large reserves. There was little 
prospect that the situation would im- 
prove after D plus 41. SHAEF planners 
had estimated that port capacity would 
reach 45,000 tons by D plus 90, but there 
was no assurance from the Communica- 
tions Zone that it would be able to utilize 
it. The supply build-up, according to Gen- 
eral Moses, was expected to be limited to 
30,000 tons per day, the tonnage which 
the Transportation Corps estimated it 

would be capable of receiving and clear- 
ing from the ports and beaches. Receipts 
at this scale would permit no improve- 
ment in the small reserve position in the 
Communications Zone, and would pro- 
vide no operational reserves at all for the 
field forces. 95 In the view of the army 
group G-4 this limitation would create an 
impossible situation for the Communica- 
tions Zone. While the prospect was admit- 
tedly unfavorable, the logistical planners 
nevertheless proceeded on the assumption 
that the administrative situation would be 
assessed in the early stages of the operation 
and that changes would be made in the 
troop build-up lists and planned cargo 
tonnages if necessary. 

Assuming that the higher tonnage ca- 
pacities could be utilized, the planners es- 
timated that reserves would gradually 
start to build up so that by D plus 90 all 
the required reserves for the air forces 
would be established, and 5 units of fire 
and tonnages equal to about 10 days of 
supply in the Communications Zone 
would be available for all troops ashore. 
But even this build-up would not meet the 
planned levels, which called for 21 days of 
supply for all forces in the Communica- 
tions Zone by D plus 90. 

These unencouraging prospects led 
General Moses to state that from the G-4 
point of view the logistical support of the 
operation after D plus 41 was precarious, 

94 Ltr, Moses to G-4 ETO, 20 May 44, sub: Con- 
trol of Supply Build-up, with 1st Ind by Lord, 1 Jun 
44, and Stf Study by Col G. S. Speidel, G-4 
FECOMZ, 27 May 44, sub: Control of Supply Build- 
up — In Answer to Inquiry of Deputy MGA, 21 A Gp, 
EUCOM 400 Supplies, Services and Equipment, 
General, IIIB; Draft 1st Ind, Stratton to G-in-G 21 A 
Gp for U.S. Adm Stf, 15 Jun 44, EUCOM 400.22 
Shipments General, I. 

95 Operational reserves are defined as supplies held 
by an army to insure continuity of distribution and 
issue to its subordinate elements. 



if not impossible. There were many inde- 
terminate factors involved, of course, and, 
in spite of the gloomy paper prospects at 
the moment, no immediate changes in 
plan were contemplated. Hopefully, the 
G-4 surmised that maintenance require- 
ment estimates might prove excessive, and 
reserves might be built up from the sur- 
plus maintenance brought to the Conti- 
nent. Progress might also be slower than 
anticipated, with resulting cuts in support- 
ing and service troops and the creation 
thereby of greater reserves for the troops 

On the other hand, there was the possi- 
bility that conditions might be even less 
favorable than expected. If supplies were 
lost, for example, the build-up of troops 
might be retarded for lack of maintenance. 
In any event, he concluded, it was imper- 
ative that administrative developments 
be watched closely from the start and 
that the logistic potential be frequently 
reappraised. 96 

(6 ) The Depot Structure 

Still another aspect of the Overlord lo- 
gistic plan which had to be given careful 
consideration was the Continental depot 
structure. Like other portions of the sup- 
ply system, the network of base, interme- 
diate, and advance depots, base mainte- 
nance shops, vehicle parks, assembly 
plants, and bulk POL storage facilities, 
was to have its rudimentary beginnings on 
the beaches at Omaha and Utah. After 
the landings of the assault forces the first 
supplies were simply to be dumped into 
fields immediately behind the beaches, 
with only a rough attempt at segregation 
by classes. As soon as the combat forces 
had expanded the beachhead sufficiently, 
the engineer special brigades were to bring 

a higher degree of order into the handling 
of supplies by organizing the beach main- 
tenance areas. Service troops from each of 
the technical services in the First Army at- 
tached to the brigades were to supervise 
the establishment and operation of segre- 
gated dumps. As enough of these men be- 
came available, the installations were to 
be taken over and operated by army serv- 
ice units, the engineer brigades remaining 
responsible for the movement of supplies 
from the beaches to the army dumps. 
Then, as beach and port operations were 
developed and First Army moved forward 
and organized its own maintenance area, 
more and more installations in the base 
area were to be turned over to the Ad- 
vance Section, which was responsible for 
the initial organization of the communica- 
tions zone on the Continent. Eventually 
the Advance Section in turn would relin- 
quish control of the coastal area as other 
COMZ sections arrived to take over the 
administration of the base area. For the 
first six weeks, however, the Advance Sec- 
tion, as the first echelon of the Communi- 
cations Zone, made detailed plans for the 
entire administrative structure. 97 

Theater headquarters issued instruc- 
tions in February 1944 for the establish- 
ment of depots on the Continent, and the 
Advance Section and Forward Echelon, 
Communications Zone, followed later with 
detailed plans specifying the exact loca- 
tions of all types of installations, the 
amount of covered and open storage re- 
quired, and the tonnage capacities of all 
storage facilities. Storage was planned in 
all the towns in the vicinity of the landing 

96 Memo, Moses to CofS FUSAG, 16 May 44, sub: 
Overlord Supply Situation, D plus 41-D plus 90, 
SHAEF 12 A Gp G-4 Memos 1944. 

97 Ltr, FUSA to Stf Sees and Svcs, 23 May 44, sub: 
Control of Beach Area Dumps, FUSA 370 Employ- 
ment and Opn of Troops, FUSA- 16, Drawer 4. 



beaches, those figuring most conspicuously 
being Cherbourg, Ste. Mere-Eglise, Caren- 
tan, Valognes, Trevieres, La Haye-du- 
Puits, and St. L6. Some of these locations 
were to serve as depots for two or more of 
the technical services, but most sites were 
selected for a single specific use, such as 
third, fourth, and fifth echelon mainte- 
nance shops, vehicle assembly plants, 
Class I st